BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: BDX), a leading global medical technology company, has praised the recent announcement that the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) will increase its emphasis over the next five years on strengthening health systems in developing countries.
BD currently collaborates with PEPFAR on three separate initiatives that promote the long-term sustainability of healthcare delivery throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The programs focus on strengthening laboratory systems, protecting healthcare workers, and improving blood collection practices in the region.
On December 1, 2009, World AIDS Day, Ambassador Eric Goosby, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, announced that the United States would launch a new five-year strategy that will move PEPFAR "from an emergency response to one of durable health systems that are designed to serve the medical needs of people with HIV/AIDS and the communities where they live," as reported in an article posted on the U.S. State Department's America.gov website.
"We're going to begin transitioning from an emergency response to a sustainable one through greater engagement with and capacity building of governments," said Ambassador Goosby.
Similarly, on November 30, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that PEPFAR's second five-year phase will witness a "transitioning from emergency response to sustainable health systems that help meet the broad medical needs of people with HIV and the communities in which they live."
"While emergency response remains essential to addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the most viable and sustainable long-term approach for preventing, diagnosing, monitoring and treating HIV/AIDS and related opportunistic infections is to strengthen healthcare systems in developing countries," said Gary Cohen, Executive Vice President, BD. "This is why we agree with and support this area of strategic emphasis for PEPFAR."
BD's three public-private collaborations with PEPFAR are focused on different areas of health system strengthening. The laboratory strengthening program involves extensive training of laboratory technicians in quality control systems and specific testing procedures for diagnosing and monitoring HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. The Wellness Center initiative, pursued in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses, provides essential services to health workers and their families including discreet HIV testing and treatment. Most recently, BD and PEPFAR announced the launch of a third program focused on safe blood sampling and handling practices. It is anticipated that as many as 10,000 health workers will be trained in this program.