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.
Aug 17, 2016

Call to Action: Vaccinate 7,981 girls!

Mariam is the right age to receive an HPV vaccine
Mariam is the right age to receive an HPV vaccine

We are thrilled to be back in Bamako, and we’re writing you with a special request:

We met with our “Story-telling Cloth" collaborators to go over the results of the Community Education & Cervical Cancer Screening Campaign. When we met with the director of the National Immunization Program, she was very impressed with our report on high levels of HPV vaccination acceptance and extensive training of healthcare personnel for increased screening.

She informed us that there are leftover doses from the HPV Vaccine pilot program and they need to use them before they expire. She is wondering if she could do a campaign with the doses in the district of Bamako where we already educated the population with the “story telling cloth” program.  This is the perfect opportunity to pilot a “Mother-Daughter Cervical Cancer Prevention” program so that moms can get screened and girls can get vaccinated in the same clinic appointment.

There are 7,981 leftover doses from her pilot project that they could give out in Bamako. These doses expire in November, and they need to get the doses out quickly. If we could get the vaccine to the community clinics we work with, then they will apply for the 2nd dose in 6 months so that all girls are fully protected against infection.

Here’s what we need to mobilize healthcare personnel and get those vaccine doses to girls in our community:

  • Weeklong census activity to register 10 year old, vaccine-eligible, girls in the district. ($2,000 would cover daily stipends and transportation for the census staff)
  • Supervision of the team of vaccinators deployed to clinics and community sites on vaccine campaign days. ($2,000 for daily stipends and transportation for the supervision staff)
  • Vaccinators’ salaries are already covered in the National Program budget.
  • Training for census staff, vaccinators and supervisors would take place in partnership with the Bamako public health office ($10,000 for a 2 week training event with the different teams).

With $14,000, we could get 7,981 girls vaccinated against HPV. Breaking down the cost per girl, that’s just $1.75 to get a child a vaccine that would otherwise go to waste.

 So, what do you say? Can we make this happen?

 Please join us to help protect girls from cervical cancer in Mali!

Aug 1, 2016

More than just food...

Sarra
Sarra
Sarra is a little girl who comes to the Tuesday/Friday cooking group by herself. I’m sure sure of her age, but she’s probably around 12 years old. She hardly ever speaks, but she’s very observant. She’s HIV+, and her mother died, probably from complications related to HIV/AIDS.
Her father remarried and Sarra’s new stepmother found many little ways to mistreat her. Her father did not come to her defense, which Sarra says hurt her even more that her stepmother’s abuse.
Now Sarra lives with an older female relative. This woman doesn’t believe in HIV, and so refuses to bring Sarra to the clinic to see the doctor and get her ARV medication. Also, she might be putting her out to work selling stuff in the market, which may conflict with her school attendance.
When Sarra arrived at the clinic last Friday for the meal. The other mothers in the group immediately started pointing these things out to me. They told me she has lost weight since she stopped taking her medication. 
The dedicated staff at ASACOMSI will figure out a way to speak with her gardian and find ways to get her in for treatment again, but this wouldn’t have been possible without the women’s group advocating for this silent little girl.
The cooking group does so much more than just cook together. They support each other in a society that constantly tries to sideline them. They are able to speak up for each other as a group in a way that they couldn’t on their own. 
I’m proud that GAIA is able to support this group of women little by little as they grow into their own organization.
Thank you for your continued support, it means the world to us.
Jun 1, 2016

A wealth of ideas

Teens drumming
Teens drumming

2015 was a great year for our Teen Education program and 2016 is off to a great start! 1,041 teens participated our program in 2015: 67% were girls, and 20% of all participants were girls who are not currently in school.

The teen participants continue to meet weekly at the clinic to learn about reproductive health with Socrates, our peer educator, but we’re full of ideas for how we can expand this program! 

One idea is to use traditional elements of Malian music, song, dance, and theatre to spread our health messages to a broader audience of teens throughout the city. We’ve discussed these plans with drummers, contemporary dancers, and other enthusiasts. This would be a fantastic opportunity to engage teens and help them formulate a cultural message that would have a big impact on their peers.

Another idea is to implicate teen girl graduates of this program in our cervical cancer prevention campaign that we are planning for 2017. As health officials in Mali prepare for a national HPV vaccination campaign, teen educators could play a key role in informing girls about vaccination days and answering any questions they might have about the vaccine.

There are many interesting directions that this program could grow. We’re happy with the base we’ve established, and we’re proud to have reached over 2,000 teens since we launched in 2014.

 With your help, we’re taking this program to new heights!

School attendance among participating adolescents
School attendance among participating adolescents
 
   

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