January 2011

Video: ICAP Next Generation

In December, ICAP’s Next Generation showcased many of the projects conducted by students in the field. A short video is available here.


ICAP Transfers Equipment to Swaziland’s Ministry of Health

In November, ICAP Global Director Wafaa El-Sadr officially handed over medical equipment totaling more than five million Emalengeni (more than $700,000) to Swaziland’s Ministry of Health. This equipment included park homes, medical equipment, and furniture to support the scale-up of HIV care and treatment programs throughout the country.

The handover came after a keynote address El-Sadr delivered at the National Health Research Conference in Swaziland. During her talk on “HIV Treatment as Prevention,” El-Sadr discussed the recent scale-up of HIV treatment in low-resource settings and the potential effect of this scale-up on HIV transmission. She highlighted the importance of expansion of HIV testing, and of ensuring linkage and retention of all HIV-infected patients to HIV care programs and in supporting patients who initiate antiretroviral therapy in their efforts to achieve high adherence rates. Approximately 200 individuals attended the session, which was also attended by Swazi Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini, and Minister Of Health Benedict Xaba.

Currently, ICAP provides technical support, onsite mentoring, and supportive supervision to 49 health facilities, including hospitals, health centers, and clinics. These sites have provided HIV care and treatment to more than 56,000 patients. In 2011, ICAP plans to expand its support for HIV services to a total of 55 hospitals and clinics throughout Swaziland, including support for HIV programming with the correction system.  


About ICAP

ICAP was founded in 2004 at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Now a global leader in HIV/AIDS services, ICAP supports work at more than 1,200 sites across 15 countries in Africa. More than one million people have received HIV services through ICAP-supported programs.

For more information about ICAP, visit
For more information about ICAP leadership, visit here.

Supported by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Stephen Lewis Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Institutes of Health, David and Lucille Packard Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Starr Foundation.

© 2011 ICAP

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Nur-Mossa Ahmed has grown up in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. His parents are refugees from Somalia, and his home has always been the camp in the small town of Kebri Beyah, about 754 kilometers (469 miles) east of Addis Ababa.

At one of the health centers built by Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and supported by United Nations Higher Commission for Refugee Affairs (UNHCR), he was trained as a lay counselor for HIV/AIDS.

What Nur-Mossa has found is that cultural and religious taboos regarding HIV are prevalent in the Somali population. The Somali population is predominantly Muslim, and within the community it is often said that HIV isn’t an issue for Muslims. When Somali patients are offered HIV Counseling and Testing, almost all are willing to undergo HIV testing, but many are reluctant to accept a positive result. The community lacks correct information about HIV, and those who are living with HIV suffer from serious stigma. Thus, there is underutilization of HIV care and other HIV services.

To overcome prevailing misconceptions about HIV, programs are training community counselors like Nur-Mossa to reach to others in their communities. Coming from the same cultural and religious background, these lay counselors can help overcome misconceptions and improve the quality of the services in the community.

The Kebri Beyah ARRA Health Center started providing comprehensive HIV services in 2007 with support from ICAP. By bringing services closer to this community, it is helping the camp’s estimated 17,000 residents access HIV testing, education and counseling as well as care and treatment.

Community counselors help address the shortage of trained counselors. They also fill the communications gap between health care providers and patients, who are often from different cultural and religious backgrounds. Alem Darge, who works as an HIV counselor at Jijiga Health Center, noted how community counselors speak with clients using terms and references that are relevant to their own backgrounds.

Dr. Yusuf Mohammed, Deputy Head of Somali Regional Health Bureau, said, “Compared to other regions, the region has gaps in addressing issues related to HIV. Training and deploying community counselors could contribute to changing the attitude of people towards the transmission and spread of HIV in the communities.”

The community counselors training, the first of its kind for the Somali Region of Ethiopia, took place from April 26–June 4, 2010, in Jijiga town. Twenty participants drawn from 19 ICAP-supported sites (six hospitals and 13 health centers) attended the training. The training was organized by ICAP-Ethiopia and the Somali Regional Health Bureau.

Male Circumcision Program in Lake Victoria Islands, Tanzania Reaches Target

In Tanzania, ICAP has successfully supported the completion of the first phase of a male circumcision (MC) program in the Lake Victoria Islands. Between November and December 2010, a total of 1,158 men between 10 and 55 years were circumcised in Bumbile ward (which covers five islands), using World Health Organization standard criteria. As part of the program, 1,175 men were counseled and tested for HIV, and 64 (5.4%) were found to be HIV positive and referred to HIV care. 

The program successfully reached 97% of its target of 1,200 circumcisions. The second phase of the program will be launched in January 2011 in another ward (Goziba Island), when the MC tents donated by CDC-Tanzania will be handed over to the regional and district health authorities in Kagera.

In Ethiopia, ICAP Helps Integrate HIV and Sanitation Services, and Strengthens Care for Children

In Ethiopia, ICAP has been helping coordinate HIV work with services offered by the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) movement.

Thirty-eight participants attended a two-day meeting to discuss the conditions of WASH and HIV services, and recommend a way forward. Opening the workshop on behalf of the Director General for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention General directorate, Dr. Tizita Hailu, noted that access to safe water and sanitation remains unrealized in Ethiopia as it is in many developing countries.

In collaboration with the Ethiopian Pediatric Society (EPS), ICAP is building on its role as the national lead on Pediatric HIV/AIDS care and treatment. As part of its ongoing relationship with EPS, ICAP sponsored the fifth annual pre-conference for EPS’s annual conference.

At the ICAP-sponsored event, the new WHO PMTCT and pediatric HIV care and treatment recommendations were presented by ICAP’s Dr. Ruby Fayorsey. The conference welcomed 146 participants working in pediatric health care in Ethiopia, including pediatricians, pediatric residents and nurses involved in pediatric care.

In collaboration with Dire Dawa, Harari, and Somali Regional Health bureaus, ICAP conducted a workshop on newborn resuscitation to help prevent newborn deaths. Lack of trained staff hinders comprehensive newborn care in Ethiopia. The workshop covered issues such as the identification of newborns requiring resuscitation, initial steps on newborn care, and provision of positive pressure ventilation. The training also included a one-day onsite one-on-one mentorship with ICAP clinical advisors. Participants included 48 health care providers from seven hospitals, six health centers, representatives from regional health bureaus, and ICAP staff in Ethiopia.