February 8, 2011

New Center Will Help Fight Mwanza, Tanzania HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Tanzania will now have expanded resources to help fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic with the opening of a new pediatric Center of Excellence that will serve families and children in Mwanza and its surrounding regions, providing increased access to care for a population of almost 9 million people.

The Baylor College of Medicine-Texas Children's Hospital-Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Clinical Centre of Excellence will be opened on the grounds of the Bugando Medical Centre, the region's 900-bed, tertiary referral hospital. With the larger, recently constructed facility, healthcare workers will be able to care for an increased amount of children and their families.

Additionally, it will provide a greater infrastructure for training current and future HIV/AIDS care providers. The center is expected to care for at least 5,000 HIV-infected and affected children and their families by 2013.

The center was established through a public-private partnership between the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatrics AIDS Initiative at Texas Children's Hospital, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development and the Government of Tanzania.

Expanding education

With important collaboration with the Government of Tanzania, the center will partner with the Bugando Medical College, Bugando Medical Centre's medical school, to expand their programs in pediatric global health and support curriculum development, mentoring and pediatric residency rotations.

According to U.S. Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt, "This Pediatric Center of Excellence represents an investment in sustainable development and another critical step in fulfilling the vision of the U.S. and Tanzanian Partnership Framework for a coordinated HIV/AIDS response; providing health services today while building enduring health systems for tomorrow."

Dedication ceremonies

Attending today's dedication ceremonies were Dr. Hadji Mponda, Minister of Health and Social Welfare representing President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete; United States Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt; John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation; John E. Celentano, senior vice president, Human Resources, Public Affairs and Philanthropy, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and member of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Board of Directors; Michael Mizwa, BIPAI chief operating officer and senior vice president; and Dr. Charles Majinge, director general, Bugando Medical Centre.

The Mwanza center will join BIPAI's existing network of Children's Clinical Centers of Excellence throughout eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa.

"Ultimately, this will establish a network of pediatric HIV/AIDS care and treatment canvassing all three countries bordering Lake Victoria, a region with the highest HIV prevalence in east Africa," said Michael Mizwa, BIPAI chief operating officer and senior vice president.

"The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and BIPAI share a common goal of improving the care and treatment of communities affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa, working together with local governments. This new center builds on our longstanding strategy of forging public-private partnerships to effect lasting change at the community level, for the benefit of HIV-infected and -affected children and their families," said John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.


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