Today, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton visited the Buguruni Health Center in Tanzania. This center, which serves a population of 80,000, sees 450-500 patients Monday through Saturday and it is open for urgent care on Sunday. This integrated health center is operated by the Government of Tanzania and is supported by the U.S. Government through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and USAID. The Buguruni Health Center offers multiple health services, including antenatal care, family planning, pediatric care, malaria and HIV services. The Health Center is an example of the coordinated services and care that the U.S. Global Health Initiative (GHI) is designed to support around the world.
At the Bugurini Health Center, Secretary Clinton will launch a PEPFAR special initiative around gender-based violence (GBV), with an additional $24 million in funding over three years. This new initiative will leverage the PEPFAR platform to provide a comprehensive, multisectoral response to GBV to increase the quality and availability of services for survivors of GBV and build the capacity of Tanzanians, especially at the community level, to address GBV.
The first principle of GHI is a “focus on women, girls and gender equality.” Focusing on women and girls is not only the right thing to do – it is also the smart thing to do. The ability of women to access health-related information and services is fundamental to the health of the entire community. Improving the health and status of women and girls also enhances their productivity and social and economic participation, and acts as a positive multiplier, benefiting the development and health of future generations.
GHI’s focus on women, girls, and gender equality is exemplified by a significant commitment to maternal and child health and family planning. GHI goals include building health systems and ensuring that women, children, and families, have access to an integrated package of essential health services. GHI also supports long-term, systemic changes to remove societal barriers to health care services and to increase the participation of women and girls in health care decision-making.
Monitoring, preventing, and responding to GBV is a key element of this principle. GBV fuels the spread of HIV/AIDS by limiting women's ability to negotiate sexual practices, disclose HIV status, and access medical services and counseling. Gender-based violence is also associated with many serious immediate and long-term health problems for women and girls. The U.S. Government, through PEPFAR, is supporting efforts to incorporate GBV prevention and treatment into existing HIV programs, providing an estimated $38 million for GBV activities in more than 28 countries in the last year. PEPFAR has also announced new gender initiatives focused on GBV, with over $60 million in central funding, making PEPFAR one of the largest investors in GBV worldwide.