Gates Foundation’s Avahan gives $47 million in grants

New Delhi: Avahan, the India AIDS initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced $47 million (Rs. 216 crores) in new grants to support HIV prevention programmes for vulnerable populations in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, and Nagaland.

Rajat Gupta, senior partner of McKinsey & Company and co-chairman of the Avahan Program Board and Ashok Alexander, director of Avahan, announced the grants after a meeting of the board. Patty Stonesifer, co-chairperson and president of the Gates Foundation, Dr. Richard Klausner, executive director of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health program, and Helene Gayle, director of the foundation’s HIV, TB and reproductive health programmes were also present.

The grants announced will support the following HIV prevention programmes:

  • Tamil Nadu: The Voluntary Health Services received a grant of $13 million (Rs. 60 crores) to expand access to HIV prevention services among vulnerable populations. Services will include behavior change communication, condom promotion, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The initiative will cover 16 of the state’s 28 districts that have the highest prevalence of HIV.
  • Maharashtra: Family Health International (FHI) and Pathfinder received grants of $10.5 million (Rs. 48 crores) and $8.5 million (Rs. 39 crores) respectively, to implement HIV prevention services in Maharashtra. Their programmes will offer behavior change communication, condom use promotion, and STI services to vulnerable populations in the state. FHI will implement the programme in Mumbai and Thane while Pathfinder will initiate the activities in 10 other districts in the state.
  • Manipur and Nagaland: The Australian International Health Institute received a grant of $5 million (Rs. 23 crores) to implement, in partnership with Emmanuel Hospital Association, HIV prevention services for intravenous drug users and other vulnerable populations in the Northeastern states of Manipur and Nagaland.

In addition, Population Services International received a grant of $10 million (Rs. 46 crores) to offer STI services at existing and new clinics in the states of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. PSI will also train and support health care providers to treat STIs and conduct outreach to encourage vulnerable groups to seek STI services.

“The grantees announced today have proven track records of delivering HIV prevention services,” said Mr. Alexander. “We’re confident that their efforts can help control the epidemic’s spread in India.”

The Gates Foundation has committed $200 million (Rs. 920 crores) to HIV prevention in India through Avahan, the foundation’s India AIDS initiative. This is the foundation’s largest commitment to HIV/AIDS in any single country. In October 2003, Avahan awarded $67.5 million (Rs. 310 crores) in grants to support HIV prevention in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and along national highways. This announcement brings the total grants awarded to date by Avahan to $114.5 million (Rs. 526 crore).

Avahan (“call to action”) is a $200 million grant making initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that supports programmes working to prevent the spread of HIV in India.

Led by Bill Gates'' father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of approximately $26 billion.