A consortium led by Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health has received a $125 million five-year cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the Multicountry Columbia Antiretroviral Program (MCAP) to provide comprehensive HIV care and treatment in Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, and Tanzania. This represents the largest award ever granted to Columbia University . The MCAP program, part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), will scale up HIV/AIDS treatment in some of the African countries hardest hit by the AIDS pandemic. Consistent with the national plans of each individual country, MCAP will use existing infrastructure and be fully integrated into local healthcare systems. This program builds upon the Mailman School 's existing MTCT-Plus Initiative, funded by eight private foundations and USAID, which is currently treating HIV-infected adults and children at multiple sites in eight countries.
The goal of MCAP is to broaden the population of patients by enrolling and offering HIV care and services to approximately 190,000 HIV infected individuals in large geographic areas. This includes providing services to 13,000 HIV-infected individuals in the first year and 116,000 people over a five-year period.
"This program will save lives," stated Wafaa El-Sadr, professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, principal investigator of MCAP, and director of the MTCT-Plus Initiative. "It will allow for the establishment of a mosaic of care and treatment programs that meet the needs of all HIV-infected individuals in a community."
Using the fundamental principles of the MTCT-Plus Initiative, MCAP will utilize multidisciplinary teams to provide a family-centered approach to HIV care and treatment, including antiretroviral management, clinical and psychosocial support, attention to adherence and long-term retention, central procurement of medications and supplies, and careful monitoring and evaluation. The goals of MCAP are to: rapidly expand HIV care and antiretroviral programs, promote early identification of HIV infection, and prevent further spread of HIV.
The combined expertise of the consortium members will be instrumental in meeting these goals. Members of the consortium are: Eastern Cape Department of Health and University of Transkei , South Africa ; Ministry of Health and Health Alliance International, Mozambique ; Ministry of Health and Muhimbili National Hospital , Tanzania ; Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Indiana University , Kenya ; and Treatment and Research AIDS Center of the Ministry of Health, Rwanda . The vast majority of the funds will be expended in Africa through local partners.
"Our host-country partners in sub-Saharan Africa have been caring for those with HIV since the disease first appeared and are intimately familiar with the programs that will serve them best," said Thomas Hardy, assistant clinical professor of population and family health, co-principal investigator of MCAP, and associate director of the MTCT-Plus Initiative. "Drawing on the resources of the Mailman School and the experience and expertise of its staff and of our partners will ensure that appropriate technical support is provided to the programs."
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is a five-year global HIV/AIDS program, the strategy for which was announced on February 23, 2004 . The Plan targets $9 billion in new funding to ramp up prevention, treatment, and care services in 15 of the most affected countries of the world. "This CDC funding provides an extraordinary opportunity to save lives," stated Allan Rosenfield, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health. "It allows us to build on the experience gained from our pioneering MTCT-Plus Initiative and to treat as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. We are committed to the global effort -- supported by PEPFAR; WHO; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; and the World Bank, among others -- to provide HIV care and treatment to the millions who desperately need it."