Senator Graham Urges Faith Community Advocacy for PEPFAR Print {sharethis label=}
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) affirmed his belief that the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has had an enormous impact for the relatively small investment made by the U.S. and urged the faith community to continue to advocate for it at an event sponsored by CCIH along with a coalition of faith-based organizations and others working in global health on Tuesday, May 14 on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Graham noted that while the United States spends approximately 1 percent of its budget on foreign assistance, most Americans believe it to be much higher. He said, “Americans are generous, but they insist we spend wisely,” and added that he cannot think of a better example of a program with a higher impact for the investment than PEPFAR. Senator Graham serves as Ranking Member of the State Foreign Operations Subcommittee on Appropriations.
Ambassador Eric Goosby, M.D, U.S. global AIDS coordinator and special representative, Office of Global Health Diplomacy and head of PEPFAR, also spoke at the event, saying millions of men, women and children are alive today due to PEPFAR and the support of advocates such as Senator Graham and partners in the faith community. “Since the early days, faith-based organizations have played a unique role in the response to AIDS. We have relied heavily on faith-based organizations to help stem the rising tide of new infections,” said Dr. Goosby. He explained that faith-based organizations were often the primary vehicle to reach those in need and commented on the extraordinary network and reach of faith communities in developing nations.
A panel presentation followed, including a discussion of how faith-based organizations play a crucial role in the Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive. Faith groups are addressing and working to eliminate stigma regarding HIV/AIDS, providing counseling and preventive care, and treating the infected. The Global Plan was developed through a consultative process by a global task team of country and private sector representatives convened by UNAIDS and Executive Director Michel Sidibé and US Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby.
Also speaking at the event were Craig McClure, Chief of HIV/AIDS Program Division, UNICEF; Martha Cameron-Sichone, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Ambassador and mother living with HIV; Reverend Samuel Nixon, Jr., Pan African Christian AIDS Network; Adam Russell Taylor, Vice President of Advocacy, World Vision; Jim Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church & Society, United Methodist Church; and Debbie Dortzbach, Senior Health Advisor, World Relief. 
Last Updated ( Friday, 17 May 2013 18:36 )