ICAP News - November 2007

Columbia University Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences Marks Opening of Renovated HIV Clinic in Ethiopia, Visits ICAP Country Programs
On Nov. 9, Lee Goldman, MD, MPH, Columbia University executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences, participated in the opening of the newly renovated HIV/Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Clinic at Bishoftu Public Hospital in Oromia State, Ethiopia. The facility, whose renovation and ongoing activities have been supported by ICAP, provides comprehensive HIV services to more than 2,400 people, including ART to 942 people. While in Ethiopia, Goldman also met with the Minister of Health, regional health officials, healthcare providers, and patients, to learn about ICAP activities.

Goldman’s visit to Ethiopia was part of a four-country trip to ICAP-supported programs in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, he participated in the Nov. 13 opening of the Comprehensive Care Center at Thika District Hospital. In Rwanda, he met with the Minister of Health and the Minister of State in charge of HIV/AIDS, and visited the ICAP-supported pediatric HIV services at Central Hospital in Kigali. Finally, in Tanzania, he met with the country’s First Lady, Mama Salma Kikwete, and visited Chalinze Health Center, a rural facility where ICAP has supported the rapid initiation of HIV services as part of a national decentralization program.

“ICAP’s work in addressing the global HIV epidemic is truly extraordinary,” said Goldman. “The high-quality, comprehensive HIV programs that ICAP supports are saving lives and giving so many people hope for the future.”

Photo captions: Above, Dr. Lee Goldman and ICAP Director Wafaa El-Sadr display a certificate of appreciation presented by Oromia State to ICAP at the inauguration of the Bishoftu HIV/ART clinic. They are joined by H.E. Ato Muktar Kedir (left), vice president of the State of Oromia, and Zenebe Melaku (right), ICAP-Ethiopia country director.
At right, Dr. Goldman (right) congratulates Dr. Philip Mulingwa, medical superintendent of Thika District Hospital, at the opening of the Comprehensive Care Center.

For more about ICAP Ethiopia, visit here.
For more about ICAP Kenya, visit here.

Renovated Laboratory Brings Early Infant Diagnosis Capability to Tanzania
On Nov. 21, Tanzania government officials and leadership representing in-country U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and partner organizations joined ICAP officials to inaugurate the country’s first laboratory that provides early infant diagnosis capability using the Dried Blood Spot (DBS) DNA PCR technique. The facility at Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza will support antenatal care programs throughout the country, enabling healthcare providers to diagnose HIV and begin appropriate treatment in infants as young as four weeks old. In addition to providing funding for the renovation of the laboratory and the procurement of equipment, reagents, and supplies, ICAP has supported trainings of laboratory personnel on conducting assays and quality assurance, as well as trainings for nurses on the collection of DBS samples. Speakers at the laboratory's inauguration noted that the availability of early infant diagnosis capability in Tanzania promises to improve outcomes for children with HIV throughout the country.

Photo caption: Minister of Health and Social Welfare Professor David Mwakyusa marks the official opening of the early infant diagnosis laboratory at Bugando Medical Centre.

For more about ICAP Tanzania, visit here.

Comprehensive HIV Services Expanded to 18 Health Centers in Lesotho
In November, ICAP expanded its support of comprehensive HIV services to 18 health centers in Mohale’s Hoek and Mafeteng Districts in Lesotho as part of a national government plan to decentralize health services from hospitals and scale up prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services. ICAP is working with the districts to develop referral systems between the health centers, clinics, and Mohale’s Hoek and Mafeteng District Hospitals. District HIV/AIDS plans are also being enhanced to emphasize the multidisciplinary, family-focused MTCT-Plus model of care, and to incorporate standardized skills-building programs for all healthcare workers.

For more about ICAP Lesotho, visit here.

First National Training of Trainers Held in Ethiopia on Care of HIV-Exposed Infants and Early Infant Diagnosis
In August, ICAP, in partnership with the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, held the first national training of trainers on care of HIV-exposed infants and early infant diagnosis. More than 30 pediatricians and laboratory technicians from 11 regional health bureaus and United States government-implementing university partners operating in these regions took part in the training, which will enable the participants to support facility-level implementation of pediatric HIV services.

The training was held as part of a national effort supported by ICAP to decentralize pediatric HIV services from national to regional and district facilities. ICAP’s support has also included the renovation of Adama and Harar Regional Laboratories to provide early infant diagnosis capability using DNA PCR technology.

For more about ICAP Ethiopia, visit here.

New Peer Educators Support HIV Programs in Kenya
In September, ICAP and its partners in Kenya held their first peer educator training for 29 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) who will take leadership roles in psychosocial support groups at 15 health facilities in the country’s Central Province. The training focused on HIV/AIDS basics, care and treatment, treatment adherence, disclosure, positive living, and communication skills, among other topics. In addition to working with support groups, the peer educators will help refer clients to appropriate services. Additional peer educator trainings are planned for PLWHA from other health facilities in Central Province.

Photo caption: Peer educators celebrate completion of their training.

For more about ICAP Kenya, visit here.

Grants Awarded to Mozambique Patient-Support Groups for Adherence Activities
Two patient-support groups at ICAP-supported sites in Mozambique have been awarded grants from The Collaborative Fund for HIV Treatment Preparedness to support their outreach activities, including conducting home visits and promoting treatment adherence. One of the groups called Wake Up, Live! formed from PositHIVe Teas, a weekly ICAP-supported program that brings together patients and others affected by HIV/AIDS to share their experiences. At ICAP-supported sites in Maputo and Nampula, both patient-support groups assist with waiting room activities and pre-counseling, among other activities.

For more about ICAP Mozambique, visit here.

ICAP To Expand Technical Support Activities Under AIDSTAR Program
The U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded a five-year AIDS Support and Technical Assistance Resources Indefinite Quantity Contract (AIDSTAR) for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment to an international consortium that includes ICAP. Under the agreement, ICAP, as a consortium partner, is eligible to bid on U.S. government-sponsored projects that build in-country technical and management capacity for HIV/AIDS services. ICAP is the lead partner on projects pertaining to antiretroviral therapy and related treatment services. Up to $500 million in awards are expected to be awarded through the AIDSTAR program. The AIDSTAR consortium is headed by Population Services International and consists of 13 organizations with a range of expertise. For more information, email Jessica Justman, MD, who leads the program at ICAP and serves as director of its University Technical Assistance Program, at jj2158@columbia.edu.

Tanzania Sites Participate in National HIV Testing Campaign
In conjunction with a National HIV Testing Campaign initiated by the Tanzanian government, ICAP is supporting health facilities in Tanzania in holding a series of public events to encourage more people to get tested.
At one of the facilities, Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) in Dar es Salaam, a large number of people have sought testing since the campaign began. “We have seen an extraordinary number of people coming for testing,” said ORCI nurse Genoveva Mlawa. “This has never happened before.” As of Sept. 30, nearly 100,000 people had been tested in the three ICAP-supported regions of the country–Pwani, Kigoma, and Kagera.

For more about ICAP Tanzania, visit here.

Swaziland Minister of Health and Social Welfare Visits PMTCT Model Center in Mozambique
On Oct. 30, Njabulo Mabuza, Swaziland Minister of Health and Social Welfare, visited the ICAP-supported Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV Model Center at José Macamo General Hospital in Maputo. The visit, organized by the Ministry of Health of Mozambique, highlighted the experience of the facility in implementing a comprehensive package of PMTCT and maternal-child health services for pregnant women, including HIV counseling and testing, PMTCT interventions, linkage to HIV/AIDS care and treatment, reproductive health counseling, bednets for malaria prevention, and nutritional support. In Swaziland, ICAP also supports PMTCT and MTCT-Plus activities.

For more about ICAP Mozambique, visit here.

Congressional Members Briefed on ICAP's Global HIV Activities at Columbia University Medical Center Event
At an Oct. 10 reception hosted by Columbia University Medical Center in Washington, DC, ICAP Director Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, spoke briefly about ICAP's global HIV/AIDS programs to congressional members and staff, including New York Representatives Charlie Rangel, Eliot Engel, Joe Crowley, and Tim Bishop. The informational event was held to inform the audience of the Columbia Medical Center's successes in science and medicine.

Photo caption: New York Representative Charlie Rangel chats with ICAP Director Wafaa El-Sadr.