For Immediate Release
The Botswana- Baylor Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence Launched by President Mogae
- Public-private sector partnership between Botswana Ministry of Health, Gaborone’s Princess Marina Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company’s Secure the Future program
- Model for expanding care and support for HIV-infected infants and children through HIV specialty care and treatment
- Provides critically-needed pediatric HIV training for health-care providers in Botswana and surrounding countries
Gaborone, Botswana (September 18, 2000) - Southern Africa’s first Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence, with a special emphasis on HIV/AIDS pediatric care, was launched here today by Botswana President Festus Mogae.
The Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence is a public-private sector partnership between the Botswana Ministry of Health, Gaborone’s Princess Marina Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company’s Secure the Future program. The $9.7 million grant is jointly funded through a grant of $6.0 million from Bristol-Myers Squibb and $3.7 million from Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital.
The center will be located at the Princess Marina Hospital and will serve children visiting the hospital as well as the Mpule Kwelagobe Children’s Center, an orphanage in nearby Jwaneng. Features will include outpatient facilities with inpatient support, staffing and training programs for healthcare professionals throughout the region, and telemedicine capabilities which will give healthcare professionals and patients access to pediatric specialists around the world.
"We are delighted that Baylor and Secure the Future have taken up the challenge to assist affected and infected children in this country. Extending care and support for children is a priority in curbing the HIV/AIDS pandemic," said President Mogae, at a signing ceremony.
"The Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence is a pioneering model that should answer critical questions in the community and in the clinic about how best to allocate resources and services to the children in Botswana infected or affected by the AIDS pandemic," said Joy Phumaphi, Botswana’s Minister of Health. Currently, there are 66,000 children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in the country according to UNAIDS.
"The role of the Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence will be to attend to the primary and specialty medical care needs of HIV-infected infants and children, including nutritional, psychological, social, and child life services," said Dr. Mark Kline, program director of the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative and a Baylor professor of pediatrics.
Kline noted that the training of physicians and nurses in HIV/AIDS care will have a far-reaching impact on the entire healthcare delivery system. One of the aims of the center is to develop novel approaches in reducing the number of required hospital stays for HIV-infected children.
According to Mpule Kwelagobe, Miss Universe 1999 and a citizen of Botswana, after whom the center in Jwaneng has been named: "The new clinical center will assist in enhancing the overall quality of life for children who have not only lost their own loved ones but are experiencing the disease themselves. All children, regardless of their status, need love and kindness from a caring community."
"The visionary and committed leadership of the Botswana government, led by President Mogae, is critical to effectively addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The children’s center supports the vision for comprehensive care and support developed by the government," said Kenneth E. Weg, vice chairman at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The project is part of the Bristol-Myers Squibb-sponsored Secure the Future program, a $US100-milion commitment from the pharmaceutical company to assist women and children infected and affected with HIV/AIDS in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South African and Swaziland. Grants awarded through the program fund medical research, community outreach, as well as education and training for health professionals. Since Secure the Future was introduced in May 1999, 34 grants approaching $US31.5-million have been awarded.
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Company is a $US20 billion diversified, global health and personal care company with a mission to extend and enhance human life. For additional information about the company’s Secure the Future visit www.securethefuture.com.
The mission of the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative is to promote health for all people through education, research, and public service. To achieve its goal, the initiative provides comprehensive medical and social services to HIV-infected and exposed infants and children; sustains excellence in educating U.S. and foreign health professionals; and advances clinical research. Its mission currently encompasses programs in Houston, Romania, Mexico, Panama, and southern Africa. More information on the initiative can be found at bayloraids.org.