ICAP News - June 2007

Featured in this issue are stories about the continued scale-up of ICAP-Columbia University-supported HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs, ICAP-Columbia University's significant presence at the 2007 HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting, and the value of peer educators in promoting HIV counseling and testing

U.S. First Lady Laura Bush Visits Pediatric Day Hospital in Mozambique

As part of a four-country African tour, U.S. First Lady Laura Bush visited Maputo Central Pediatric Day Hospital on June 27 in Maputo, Mozambique. During her visit to this ICAP-Columbia University-supported facility, she learned about an innovative patient-support program called Positive Teas. Said Mrs. Bush, “I was thrilled by the beautiful artwork that the children created to express their ideas and feelings, and I enjoyed meeting the mothers of those children in the Positive Tea support group. The Positive Tea support group is a great opportunity for mothers to come together to discuss their concerns and questions.” ICAP has been helping establish similar Positive Teas at other HIV/AIDS care and treatment sites in Mozambique.


White House photo by Shealah Craighead

More information about ICAP-Columbia University Mozambique can be found here.

Care and Treatment Enrollment Exceeds One-Quarter Million People
As of March 31, more than 200 ICAP-Columbia University-supported sites in 14 countries provided HIV/AIDS care to more than 250,000 people, including antiretroviral therapy to more than 120,000 individuals. In addition, from October 2006 through March 2007, 49,000 pregnant women received HIV testing through prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV programs in Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. ICAP-Columbia University has also provided support for provision of ART prophylaxis for PMTCT to more than 4,500 pregnant women and more than 4,200 infants. An ICAP priority is supporting expanded prevention services to pregnant women and linking them and their infants to follow-up care and treatment.

ICAP-Columbia University Country Teams Showcase Activities at 2007 Implementers’ Meeting
ICAP-Columbia University had a significant presence at the 2007 HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Conference, June 16-19, in Kigali, Rwanda. At the meeting, ICAP-Columbia University staff from Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania, presented 14 posters and 10 oral abstracts describing their activities in support of the implementation of multidisciplinary, family-focused HIV/AIDS programs. More than 1,600 representatives of organizations supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and international agencies attended the Implementers' meeting, which examined successful approaches to the scale-up of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs in resource-limited settings.

To review ICAP posters from the Implementers' meeting, visit here.

Dignitaries Visit Extraordinary Care and Treatment Site in Rwanda
On June 15, Ambassador Mark Dybul, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, visited the ICAP-Columbia University-supported AVEGA Clinic in Kigali, Rwanda. The facility, which provides comprehensive medical and social care for widows, orphans, and widowers of the Rwanda genocide, has undergone significant improvements in recent years. These include facility renovations which have enhanced laboratory capacity and allowed for the recruitment and training of 13 additional healthcare providers. Currently, the clinic provides HIV/AIDS care to 773 people, including 268 individuals receiving antiretroviral therapy.

Photo: Ambassador Mark Dybul (first row, third from right) visits with AVEGA members.
More information about ICAP-Columbia University Rwanda can be found here.

Enhancing Quality of HIV/AIDS Services for Pregnant Women and Their Families Is A Priority in Lesotho
In support of expanded HIV/AIDS services for pregnant women in Lesotho, ICAP-Columbia University recently helped coordinate a series of review sessions for multidisciplinary teams of healthcare workers from Queen Elizabeth II National Referral Hospital, Mohale’s Hoek Hospital, and Butha Buthe Hospital, on the family-focused MTCT-Plus model of HIV/AIDS care and treatment. During the session, participants identified challenges to implementing and improving MTCT-Plus services for HIV-infected pregnant women and their families. They also developed specific strategies and mechanisms for addressing the challenges at their hospitals. ICAP will continue to work closely with hospital management to support the follow-up and implementation of MTCT-Plus services.

More information about ICAP-Columbia University Lesotho can be found here.

HIV/AIDS Services Continue to Scale-up at Kenya Sites
After only 15 months in Kenya, ICAP-Columbia University has expanded its support for HIV/AIDS services to 24 healthcare facilities providing HIV/AIDS care to more than 35,000 people. Assessing this progress on June 20, Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, ICAP-Columbia University director, and David Hoos, MD, director of ICAP-Columbia University's Multicountry Antiretroviral Program, visited the Comprehensive Care Center (CCC) at Thika District Hospital. Since April 2006, ICAP-Columbia University has been supporting a number of activities at the CCC, including facility renovations, training and mentoring of healthcare providers, monitoring and evaluation, and provision of laboratory reagents. During their visit, El-Sadr and Hoos toured the care and treatment facilities and the site of the new Family Care Clinic, which will provide comprehensive HIV/AIDS services to pregnant women, their children, and partners.

Photo: Registered Nurse Oscar Ndobo (center) of Thika District Hospital explains patient registers to ICAP-Columbia University director Wafaa El-Sadr (right).
More information about ICAP-Columbia University Kenya can be found here.

Swaziland Initiative Makes Care and Treatment Services More Accessible to Pregnant Women
In an effort to make HIV/AIDS services more accessible to pregnant women, ICAP-Columbia University has been working with the Swaziland Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) to scale up HIV/AIDS care and treatment services at clinics. In February, ICAP began supporting Mankayane Hospital in its efforts to provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) to eligible pregnant women at Luyengo Clinic; to date, 31 pregnant women have begun ART through the clinic. ICAP support includes training clinic staff in how to counsel women about the benefits of ART for them and their babies. Based on the success of the pilot project, ICAP and the MOHSW plan to expand their support activities to other ART centers and clinics around the country.

More information about ICAP-Columbia University Swaziland can be found here.

Peer Educators Spur Families to Get HIV Tested in Rwanda

On May 15, ICAP-Columbia University Rwanda co-hosted a meeting in Kigali of partners to discuss the results of a pilot program using trained peer educators to increase family access to HIV counseling and testing at two District Hospitals, Shyira and Kabaya. At the meeting, 26 representatives of the Rwanda Ministry of Health, local associations of people living with HIV (PLWHA), and non-governmental organizations, learned that peer educators, drawn from PLWHA associations, significantly increased the number of individuals and families accessing HIV counseling and testing, and were particularly effective in convincing parents to get their children tested. The National Association of People Living with HIV (RRP+), the Treatment and Research of AIDS Center (TRAC), and the National AIDS Commission (CNLS) co-sponsored the dissemination meeting.

Photo: CNLS Assistant Executive Secretary Semukanya Antoine (center) delivers remarks at the CBT dissemination meeting. He is flanked by Ruben Sahabo (left), ICAP-Columbia University-Rwanda country director.
More information about ICAP-Columbia University Rwanda can be found here.

Tuberculosis Activities Showcased in WHO Publication
The May issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization highlights ICAP-Columbia University-supported tuberculosis/HIV activities. In the paper, titled “Tuberculosis in Rwanda: Challenges to Reaching the Targets,” ICAP-Columbia University staff, with staff from partner organizations, describe the implementation of tuberculosis (TB)/HIV collaborative activities over the last two years. The article also reports findings of an assessment of acceptance of HIV testing by TB patients at 23 clinical sites. The full text of the article may be accessed here .