GAIA Vaccine Foundation

Our mission is to promote prevention of infectious diseases (HIV, TB, and HPV) in Mali while working to develop vaccines for distribution on a not-for-profit basis in the developing world. The Foundation's activities are centered on four themes: education, prevention, access to care, and vaccines. Through our active, ongoing collaboration with West African physicians and support for prevention-related clinical activities in the region, we work to improve the health of Malian children and their parents while setting the stage for ethical vaccine trials.
Jul 1, 2015

Onward and upward

Lunch!
Lunch!

I feel proud about the improvements we made to the nutritional program in the past year with your help:

*We increased the program from once a week to twice a week.

*We renewed cooking materials with new pots and bowls so that the meal can be shared with more clinic staff.

*We built a roof over the cooking area so that the women and their kids would be protected from sun and rain.

All of these initiatives were requested by the women themselves and funded by you, loyal supporters of this program. I feel grateful that GAIA is able to help in such an immediate way. By listening to our constituents, we are able to ensure that you, the donors, make the biggest possible impact. 

The HIV+ women are very grateful for this program as well. I can tell from the way they laugh and share stories together while they cook and catch up with their friends. Their lives are full of many hardships, and the twice-weekly gathering is a time to relax among their peers while the kids play together and keep an eye on their younger siblings. The women have plenty more suggestions on how to improve this program, and we intend to keep listening and facilitating improvements. 

Please know that your gift has made a difference in these Malian women's lives, and please consider continuing your support of this program.

We thank you!

Lunch!
Lunch!
Time to eat!
Time to eat!
Kids bowl
Kids bowl
Apr 3, 2015

Field Testing!

Our friends at Khadarlis
Our friends at Khadarlis
Our Story-telling cloth for Ebola education is out in the world!
Our two designs have been printed and are currently be field tested in Mali and Sierra Leone. Our friends from the non-profit Khadarlis have taken the cloth to Sierra Leone to show to the minister of health.

With your help we can print more fabric to be worn by community health workers in Sierra Leone and Guinea. By placing health education on fabric, we can ensure that it travels into rural areas and the concepts of avoiding bodily fluids are understood visually in many different communities. 

Join us in innovating new ways to communicate about health!
Apr 3, 2015

An Association is born!

Twins are a sign of good luck!
Twins are a sign of good luck!

Mali is ranked as the last country (86 of 86) of all examined in the 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI), following Sudan, DRC, Yemen, and Somalia. The SIGI measures gender inequality by looking at discriminatory social institutions, such as violence against women, restricted access to public space, and restricted access to land and credit. Additionally, widowed women in Mali are the most vulnerable in relation to food insecurity.

 This disheartening statistic on inequality is even more serious in the case of HIV+ women who constitute a sector of the population that is even more vulnerable. 32% of our patients are widowed and have six children on average. Although GAIA supports a portion of their medical costs, they possess few resources to support their children, and in the worst cases, they have been rejected by their extended families due to stigma surrounding their HIV status. Stigma remains a huge problem in Mali; due to grave social repercussions following a seropositive diagnosis, many are reluctant to get tested or pursue treatment. While social groups for women throughout the neighborhood exist, the HIV+ women are often excluded from these activities. As a result of extreme poverty, it is far likelier that the child of an HIV+ parent will drop out of school to get married (in the case of a girl) or work to support the family (in the case of a boy).

Through GAIA’s MTCTP (mother to child transmission prevention) program, we have ensured that the children of our patients are HIV free. Now, we need to safeguard their fragile futures by helping their mothers create a better life for the whole family. In the words of Koumba, a member of the group, “I don’t have means but with the little bit of resources that I find I feed my children. My five children don’t have the disease so I do everything I can so that they stay healthy”. When HIV+ patients were interviewed, they specifically requested a microfinance project. In the words of Ramata, “The most important thing that I want is to sell merchandise so I can earn money to feed my children”.

As a result of GAIA’s 10-year effort to create unifying programs, the HIV+ patients at our clinic have formed an association that has recently gained legal standing. Their goal is to promote knowledge and awareness about HIV/AIDS in Mali and to reduce stigma for those living with HIV/AIDS. 

We are eager to support them for this great cause. We want to help the HIV+ mothers expand their association to include more members and more activities. 

With your help, we can work towards stability and food security for HIV patients and their families. Please join us in supporting this fledgling association.

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