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.
Mar 25, 2013

33,000 doses of HPV vaccine in Mali West Africa

Using traditions of storytelling
Using traditions of storytelling

Right now in Mali, amidst a political crisis, lie 33,000 doses of the HPV vaccine, unable to be distributed as military funding has become the country’s financial focus. However, the vaccine is perishable, and time is running out. If not utilized within the next few months, the vaccine and with it the possibility of saving thousands of lives, will be wasted.

When we conducted our Malian-based HPV study, a dismal 9.8% of female participants had even heard of cervical cancer. Yet 12%, about 1 in every 10, Malian woman has been diagnosed with HPV. Further, 80% of those diagnosed with cervical cancer will die from the disease. That is, 1,076 Malian women die each year of preventable cervical cancer due to a lack of cytotechnology screening and early treatment programs. Many of these deaths can be eradicated with the same preventative HPV vaccine that has shown success in the developing world.

How is GAIA VF taking action?

We are now gathering and analyzing data in order to validate the usability of the HPV vaccine and obtain approval for its use in Mali and to subsequently build a framework for future vaccine trials. Specifically, GAIA VF will be vaccinating adolescent women in a preventative approach for a sustainable reduction in the prevalence of HPV in Mali. 

We are also developping a cloth that tells the story of strong, educated women who proclaim, “I immunize myself, I protect myself, and I take care of myself”– a mantra written as a banner across the image offlowering, healthy cervixes (see attached picture).  It is the banner of strength that keeps the virus out of the healthy cervixes, a reminder of the importance of being an educated, vaccinated woman. Every Malian woman who receives the HPV vaccine will receive a cloth so that she might pass on the story of prevention and vaccination, and take on a personal role in curing cervical cancer.

Past, Present, and Future

The GAIA VF HPV vaccine initiative will use traditions of storytelling through textiles in order to change the Malian peoples’ present understanding of HPV and cervical cancer in order to create a foundation of prevention through education and vaccination in Mali. This is an integrated project that involves not only the scientists and personnel at GAIA VF, but the people of Mali in taking steps towards curing cervical cancer.

We thank you for your support.

Dec 12, 2012

International Papillomavirus Conference

Our study - evaluation of the prevalence of HPV subtypes associated with cervical cancer - is still ongoing. To date 100% of patients have been enrolled and interviewed and the recruitment of subjects is now closed.

Dr. Ibrahima Téguété, our Malian collaborator on this study, was the recipient a travel grant enabling him to attend the International Papillomavirus Conference in Puerto Rico this month and present a poster with preliminary results.

As you all know Mali is still facing a major political crisis. We believe that continuing to operate our programs will instill hope in the citizens of Mali to sustain them through these difficult times. Our Malian collaborators are continuing their work, and we need to bolster their optimism that peace and prosperity will be restored. More than ever, GAIA VF, our staff, and our patients need our, and your, support.

Thank you!

Dec 1, 2012

2012 World AIDS Day Update

2012 is GAIA Vaccine Foundation’s 10th anniversary! 10 years ago, we first set out to establish collaborations with Malian HIV researchers. GAIA VF was subsequently established to coordinate networking among HIV/AIDS governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and HIV care providers, as well as to tackle the problem of misinformation about HIV/AIDS treatment among clinicians and patients that could impair the ethical conduct of HIV vaccine trials in Mali.

With your help, we have been able to support the treatment of HIV seropositive women and their families at the Hope Center Clinic and at “Chez Rosalie”, our successful mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention (MTCTP) program, since 2005! We have established strong local and regional partnerships in Mali, performed vaccine readiness research, and implemented a comprehensive HIV care program in anticipation of performing HIV vaccine trials.

With approval from the Malian Ministry of Health, GAIA VF has addressed the issue of access to care by setting up a model village-based HIV care and treatment clinic. The Hope Center Clinic now features HIV case management, outreach to identify new patients, referral to care, and promotion of medication adherence. GAIA VF also partners with local organizations to improve access to specialty HIV care at the clinic.

Our goal is to leverage innovative HIV management techniques, expand HIV treatment, and increase HIV knowledge in order to improve access and adherence to care, a model that could be implemented to expand village-level HIV care throughout West Africa.

Coup d’Etat in Mali

Unfortunately, 2012 was also the setting for a military coup, which took place in Mali in March. While there is ongoing civil unrest in the northern part of the country, our onsite director Dr. Karamoko Tounkara reports that all is calm in Mali’s capital of Bamako. Our patients and staff are safe, as are GAIA VF’s collaborating scientists.

In spite of this unrest, we are still providing access to HIV testing, care, and prevention, as well as food for HIV-infected patients, at our clinic in Sikoro. While we have had to reduce the scope of our programs to cut costs, the current political crisis has had no other impact on our activities at the Hope Center Clinic.

Although circumstances have been hard, enrollment in the MTCTP program has been steady over the past months. Voluntary HIV testing requests have skyrocketed in the past year, increasing from 226 in 2011 to 412 in 2012! This reflects not only GAIA VF’s resilience in keeping its programs open when other programs were forced to close due to the current political turmoil, but also an awareness and appreciation for the services provided by our clinic. We believe that continuing to operate our programs will instill hope in the citizens of Mali to sustain them through these difficult times.

Our Malian collaborators are continuing the fight against AIDS, and we need to bolster their optimism that peace and prosperity will be restored. More than ever, GAIA VF, our staff, and our patients need our, and your, support.

HIV Care Program

Since the launch of our antiretroviral (ARV) access program in 2009, more than 200 patients have enrolled in care at the clinic. In the past 2 years, GAIA VF was able to reduce the cost to patients of HIV screening and provide supplies and material for HIV screening activities. We reinforced our staff to levels appropriate for management of persons living with HIV/AIDS and hired a full-time pharmacist (full-time) trained in the management of care for HIV-positive patients, as required by the government of Mali.

2011-2012 Hope Center Clinic Achievements

438     Voluntary HIV test requests

221     HIV-infected adults and children in care

42       HIV-infected children in care

118     New HIV-positive patients on treatment

1040   Meals distributed to our patients

Hope is a Vaccine Award Dinner

Dr. Myron Cohen and Dr. Julio Montaner were awarded the 2012 International Hope is a Vaccine award for their ardent support of the “Treatment as Prevention” approach to ending AIDS, in the absence of an effective vaccine. The National Hope is a Vaccine award was given to Jon Cohen (correspondent with Science) for covering HIV/AIDS from every angle, and the Local Hope is a Vaccine award winner was Dr. Paul Loberti for his unfailingly devoted advocacy of HIV prevention as a means of addressing the HIV epidemic. Our 2012 awards attended the World AIDS Conference in Washington DC and gathered for a friendly award dinner together with Congressman David Cicilline.

Treatment as prevention: “The new vaccine for AIDS?”

The GAIA Vaccine Foundation held a satellite session at the AIDS Vaccine Conference in Boston in September 2012. Guest speaker (and 2012 Hope is a Vaccine Award winner!) Dr. Myron Cohen discussed the potential for implementation of the “Treatment as Prevention” (TasP) approach to ending AIDS, in the absence of an effective vaccine. Dr. Zoumana Koty, our Malian HIV specialist, was the recipient of both a scholarship and a travel grant, enabling him to attend the conference and present his work on improving clinical outcomes for HIV-positive patients at the Hope Center Clinic in Mali.

December 1st is World AIDS Day!

Your support for GAIA could not be more important than it is right now – we cannot continue without your help. Help us preserve our HIV care, treatment, and education programs in Mali! Please stand strong with GAIA VF and make a donation today.

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $30
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $400
    give
  • $5,000
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $30
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $400
    each month
    give
  • $5,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of GAIA Vaccine Foundation

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about GAIA Vaccine Foundation on GreatNonProfits.org.