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Heard on Capitol Hill – mothers2mothers Hosts a Bipartisan Call for an End to Pediatric HIV

30 September 2011

Congressman Trent Franks

Congressman Trent Franks

There was an outpouring of bipartisan support for mothers2mothers recently at House and Senate briefings in Washington DC. The briefings, hosted by mothers2mothers and Management Sciences for Health (MSH), were entitled “The Elimination of New HIV infections in Children by 2015 and Keeping Mothers Alive: A Call to Action.” The message was simple: eliminating pediatric HIV is achievable but only if successful treatment programs are not jeopardized by budget cuts.

Senators Richard Blumenthal and John Boozman spoke at the Senate briefing.

“I am impressed by the work mothers2mothers has done over the past 10 years. By providing local women in Sub-Saharan Africa with the tools they need to educate and support expectant mothers who are HIV positive, mothers2mothers has made a demonstrable impact in the fight to eradicate mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS,” said Senator Blumenthal.

At the House Briefing Congresswomen Nita Lowey, Barbara Lee, Lois Capps, Betty McCollum and Yvette Clarke and Congressmen Donald Payne and Trent Franks delivered remarks.

“I believe with all of my heart that this mother-to-baby transmission of HIV — ending that within the next few years — is something that is achievable and something real and it’s certainly one of my very top priorities to be part of this,” said Congressman Trent Franks, Co-Chair of the newly formed Congressional HIVAIDS caucus.

Both sessions were moderated by mothers2mothers Co-Founder and International Director Robin Smalley. Speakers included Ambassador Mark Dybul, Former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Dr. Gloria Sangiwa, Director of Technical Quality Innovation at MSH, Matt Lonner, Manager of Global Partnerships and Programs at Chevron, Deborah von Zinkernagel, Principal Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator at the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Nozi Samela, former Mentor Mother at mothers2mothers.

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS firmly stated that the end of pediatric HIV is within reach.

“It will happen if you accompany us, it will happen if we continue to put the face of those unfortunate thousands of women who are with us but will continue to suffer without our services. Thank you very much for what you are doing and I’m so pleased to be associated with mothers2mothers,” he said.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke echoed that message.

“The success of these organizations has been tremendous but there are still millions of women who need their help. We must continue to support these organizations, their quest to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Know that I will continue to use my voice in the House of Representatives and elsewhere to make sure that these organizations and other organizations like them get the support and access they need to eradicate pediatric HIV and general HIV transmissions keeping both mother and child alive to thrive and prosper,” she said.

Watch the full briefing on the mothers2mothers’ YouTube channel.

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