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.
Jun 1, 2012

Ongoing study despite political crisis in Mali

The second phase of our study - evaluation of the prevalence of HPV subtypes associated with cervical cancer - is ongoing and we are still recruiting women diagnosed with cervical cancer. To date a total of 127 patients have been enrolled; tissue and serum are being collected. In February 2012 the serum samples were shipped to the US to get tested.

As you know, Mali is currently facing a political crisis. On March 21st, 2012 renegade soldiers from the Malian military launched a coup d’état and attacked several locations in the capital city of Bamako. Our staff reported that the flow of activities at the hospital and in the lab slowed down but the study was able to continue without interruption.

In light of this recent political instability, we are trying to secure funds to ensure our programs are not interrupted.

Thank you all for your support!

Mar 13, 2012

Over 10,000 pregnant women screened!

Our “Prevention from Mother to Child Transmission” (PMTCT) activities enroll the largest amount of HIV+ patients at the clinic in Mali, and it is one of GAIA’s major programs.

To date and with your support, we have screened over 10,000 pregnant women since the program was launched! 

We also completed the renovation of our maternity ward and raised sufficient funds to build two new delivery rooms, replace the tiles and paint the walls. We want to improve our ability to provide care and strengthen the good rapport between the clinic staff and the mothers. Our Director, Dr. Karamoko Tounkara also arranged for PCR testing of babies to be done at Sikoro, making the Hope Center Clinic and CSCOM one of the first community-based clinic in Bamako to do so.

Our GAIA collaborators in Mali are finishing our 2011 annual report; it already shows that the percentage of women who accepted PMTCT grew from 35% in 2005 to 100% since 2010. The “Chez Rosalie” program currently has 41 children of HIV+ mothers enrolled in regular follow-up and 100% of the babies whose HIV-positive moms successfully took the medication at the clinic are HIV negative to date

Needless to say each contribution matters! Identifying and following HIV-positive women is the most effective method to reach out to the rest of their families, where others may be infected as well. 

Mar 12, 2012

"Imagine this": Words from a GAIA volunteer.

Imagine this: You are on your way to have lunch with the women of Sikoro. The walk from the modestly furnished house that GAIA rents to Sikoro will take you about 45minutes. The heat will have you drenched within minutes -no matter the time of the day- and you will have to share the road with cars, motorcycles, donkeys, cows, goats and people, as there are no sidewalks. Along the way, you will wave at the children and their mothers, who walk -often long distances- with an infant on their back, a basket on their head, a bucket in one hand, an older child’s hand in the other. You will reply to the many hellos thrown on your way by passersby and people sitting on the sides of the road, and forget the physical discomfort ever more with every smile, exquisite and contagious, belonging to some of the poorest people on the planet.

Soon, you too will fall in love with them, as did I. You will fall in love with the children who want you to touch their little hands and remember them forever by taking their photographs; with the ladies braiding each other’s hair in the afternoon heat, calling out that they love you and kissing your hands. You will fall in love with the men, sitting in the shade of a rare tree, listening to the radio, inviting you for a cup of tea. So for a moment, you will forget about their torn, dirty clothes, their bare feet and their scars. It’s as if they have everything in the world.

When you finally reach the Centre de Santé Communautaire de Sikoro - the clinic that offers basic health care services to the community - you will be greeted by fruit vendors sitting outside the clinic’s walls, selling the few seasonal fruits available. It’s Friday, and the women have will have already started cooking. This is a weekly culinary activity, funded through GAIA, by HIV positive women for HIV positive women and their children. A group of more than 20 women and children will be sitting in a corner of the clinic’s courtyard, taking turns stirring the food in a large pot over a pile of wood on fire. The children will be playing or in their mothers’ arms, some asleep despite the heat and the noise. They will immediately signal for you to join them and make space on the crammed benches.


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