Marking PEPFAR’s 20-year anniversary and success in saving 25 million lives
As the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR) marks its 20th anniversary, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), a senior US lawmaker, is highlighting the program’s major milestones—more than 25 million lives saved, 5.5 million babies born HIV-free, and 65 million HIV testing services across 50 partner countries—and calling for a continuation of the program.
“PEPFAR’s success has been made possible by the twenty-year strong bipartisan support—across US congresses and presidential administrations—and the incredible compassion and generosity of the American people,” said Rep. Smith, the chairman of the Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations subcommittee in the US House of Representatives.
“Saving more than 25 million lives, PEPFAR is widely viewed as the most successful U.S. foreign aid program since the Marshall Plan,” said Smith, who authored the most recent PEPFAR Extension Act signed into law by President Trump in 2018. Smith also pushed for the enactment of PEPFAR in 2003 under President George W. Bush and is authoring the PEPFAR reauthorization in this Congress.
“The PEPFAR program is a successful whole-of-government approach that puts our diplomacy in action with 50 partner countries,” said Smith. “It also relies significantly on the strong commitment of and collaboration with faith-based organizations, our implementing partners across the globe.”
“The US leadership and support for this global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic must continue and ensure cost-effective, accountable, and transparent American foreign assistance,” Smith said.
Smith noted that a big part of the program’s support is predicated on working to make sure the funds are properly monitored and wisely spent.
“Who we fund—not just what—matters a great deal,” he said. “We need to continue to ensure transparency and accountability with these funds. US. taxpayers should not be coerced into funding the traffickers who degrade and commit unspeakable acts of violence against women and children,” he added referring to his key amendment he wrote in 2003 to the Act, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court ruling in USAID v. Alliance for Open Society.