AIDSRelief Expands to Ethiopia

Catholic Relief Services is excited to announce that it has begun providing HIV care and treatment services in Ethiopia through the AIDSRelief consortium.

AIDSRelief began providing services this past summer at St. Luke Hospital in Wolisso, two hours west of the capital of Addis Ababa. This Catholic hospital has been providing HIV services—including lifesaving antiretroviral therapy—for the past five years, thanks to PEPFAR funds previously provided through Columbia University. Now AIDSRelief is extending these services to government health centers in nearby communities.

Ethiopia HIV

AIDSRelief has helped more than 250,000 HIV+ people in 10 countries, including more than 100,000 on antiretroviral therapy. Photo by David Snyder for CRS

By linking hospitals, health centers and communities, patients are more likely to stay on treatment and to take their medications correctly. Such treatment adherence is critical for antiretroviral drugs to work correctly and prevent patient resistance to the medications. To increase adherence, community volunteers will also visit patient homes, particularly if appointments are missed within any given month.

Already at St. Luke’s, AIDSRelief is supporting almost 3,000 HIV-positive patients, 560 of whom are on antiretroviral therapy. Three government health centers nearby are also providing HIV testing and counseling and referring pregnant mothers with HIV back to St. Luke’s. In coming months, AIDSRelief will assist the area health office in providing antiretroviral therapy to eligible clients at these health centers and also expand services to other health facilities in the region.

AIDSRelief’s key local partner in Ethiopia is the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (ECS), a CRS partner for more than 50 years. AIDSRelief is aiming to move grant management of PEPFAR funds to ECS within two to three years, following in the footsteps of AIDSRelief South Africa.

– Reported by Debbie DeVoe, CRS’ regional information officer for eastern and southern Africa

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