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AidData among provisional winners of DREAMS innovation challenge

The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan For Aids Relief (PEPFAR) announced this week that William & Mary’s AidData is one of the provisional winners of its $85 million DREAMS innovation challenge to reduce HIV/AIDS rates among adolescent girls and women in sub-Saharan African countries.

Over the course of the two-year, $1.3-million project, AidData will partner with two organizations — Akros and ToroDev — that have a local presence in Zambia and Uganda to help policymakers in these countries make healthcare decisions based on the best available data and evidence.  

“Uganda and Zambia have some of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world, especially among young women and girls,” said Brad Parks, AidData executive director. “But without granular data on HIV/AIDS risk factors and investments and the right set of skills and tools to analyze such data, decision-makers are flying blind and ill-equipped to help those who need help the most. We’re excited to work with our partners, ToroDev and Akros, to provide data, tools, and analysis that will help  move the needle in the fight against HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.”

According to PEPFAR, the goal of the DREAMS innovation challenge is to reduce HIV/AIDS among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. Girls and young women account for 71 percent of new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Sarahan Africa. The 10 DREAMS countries (Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) account for nearly half of all the new infections that occurred among adolescent girls and young women globally in 2014.

DREAMS is an ambitious public-private program whose partners include, in addition to PEPFAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and Viiv Healthcare. PEPFAR is administered by the U.S. Department of State, and implemented by a number of U.S. government agencies, including DoS and USAID. By improving targeting and resource coordination, PEPFAR programs, particularly those focused on women, girls, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) can reach more beneficiaries more efficiently and effectively.