Catholic Relief Services Consortium Statement in the FDC Meeting in Gaborone, Botswana

March 30, 2004

My name is Jacqueline Patterson and I manage the HIV/AIDS Programs Portfolio for Interchurch Medical Assistance, which is a member of the Catholic Relief Services Consortium, one of the 4 awardees of the PEPFAR ART Initiative.

I appreciate you giving me this bit of time to bring some voices from FDC utilizing facilities into the proceedings. Id just like to read a brief statement comprised of comments from our field partners.

The organizations within CRS and I.M.As collective Membership are currently providing ART treatment to thousands of people throughout Africa and the Caribbean through hundreds of affiliated Mission hospitals and clinics.

From our initial survey, completed in preparation for the proposal for the PEPFAR ART award, we learned that the majority of our partners and affiliated institutions are currently using FDC ARVs in the provision of treatment.

Under the PEPFAR initiative CRSC was awarded $24.7 million in Year I to scale up existing services and provide treatment to 14,900 people in 9 countries. As current PEPFAR guidelines dictate that we cannot use FDCs due to regulatory issues, our partners were interested in logging their concerns at this forum about the issue of broadening access to FDCs.

Therefore, I would like to offer comments coming directly from out affiliated hospitals, clinics and partners including the Christian Health Associations in our focal countries as well as sharing excepts from comments by clinician representatives at the February meeting in Brackenhurst Kenya, of the Christian Medical and Dental Association.

In closing, It is that you as governmental and regulatory agencies ensure that constraints are removed so that FDC ARVs are an option for our facilities and patients, as soon as possible.

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