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 1, 2016

Breaking bread with the minister of health

Sharing a meal with the minister
Sharing a meal with the minister

Due to the incredible advances made in America for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, sometimes it's possible to forget about "stigma". Stigmatization and social rejection of people living with HIV is a huge problem in many countries of the world, and that is exactly what we are trying to fight in Mali. When people sit together and eat food prepared by someone who is HIV+, it sends a strong message of inclusion.

In celebration of World AIDS Day in December 2015, the Malian Minister of Health chose our clinic as a model to applaud the community and staff for what they have accomplished over the years. The minister and her delegation shared a meal with the HIV+ community members that they have prepared; a very real gesture that carried a strong symbolic message.

What do we hope to see from this visit?
We want a change in public health policy that will make all the community-run clinics in Bamako the front lines of the fight against HIV. 

As a small token of her appreciation, the health minister sent a donation of mosquito nets and medicine to the HIV+ group at the Hope Center Clinic.

Please join us in showing the health minister everything that can be accomplished when a group of dedicated people focus their attention on improving quality of life for vulnerable populations!

Your support makes us who we are!

Arrival of the minister
Arrival of the minister
Nutrition support participants by month
Nutrition support participants by month
Feb 22, 2016

Time to expand

Socrates in his element
Socrates in his element

When I was in Bamako shortly after World AIDS day in December, our peer educator Socrates pulled me aside to talk about the Teen Peer Education program.

The program has been running for over a year now, with a total of 1,041 participating teens in 2015, and the majority of our participants are teen girls between 14 and 18 years old. Socrates pointed out that a large percentage of the population is living on the outskirts of the city where they don't easily access educational events or health services. His idea is to expand the program to these areas and start helping the teens run the sessions. 

The benefits of this plan is that, first of all, teens themselves would be stepping into leadership positions. Secondly, we would be increasing our impact 5-fold if we expanded to 4 new neighborhoods. In areas where teens have less access to information, they become more at-risk for sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancies.

We want to fully support Socrates initiative to grow this program and put teens in leadership positions.

Please join us is promoting teen health and education in Bamako!

a young participant at the Sikoro clinic
a young participant at the Sikoro clinic
Feb 5, 2016

10 Years of Prevention

Sleepy babies don
Sleepy babies don't like pictures

It has been a tumultuous year in Mali, in fact, a series of tumultuous years since the 2012 coup d'etat. The national security situation is affecting the work of many international NGOs, but it’s with great relief and pride that we can assure you that our Mother to Child Transmission Prevention program (MTCTP) established in 2005 is still thriving. In fact, we now have a full 10 years of successful data to share with you and the global health community. 15,459 pregnant women have been tested for HIV over the past 10 years, that’s 99% of all the women seen for prenatal care in Sikoro, on the outskirts of Bamako. 268 women tested positive for HIV, and they were enrolled in the MTCTP program, so that their babies could be born HIV free. In fact, anyone who tests positive for HIV is enrolled in a long-term treatment program with a dedicated specialist and pharmacist. Ours was the first clinic to start “decentralizing” HIV care, and last December, the Minister of Health in Bamako visited to learn more about how this model is increasing access to care and prevention among the most resource-poor neighborhoods.

We are especially proud of the HIV testing acceptance rate at our clinic. Compared to other MTCTP clinics in Mali where only 31% of women accept testing, our 99% acceptance rate is an incredible statistic made possible through the work of our dedicated staff of midwives and doctors who ensure that women understand what will be best for them and their infants. 

Of course, the best part of all this is how proud our HIV+ mothers are of their HIV free children. It’s amazing to see these healthy kids grow up each time we’re back in Mali for a visit. Moms love to have their pictures taken, and sometimes they are more enthusiastic about it than their babies who have just woken up from a nap!

In 2016, we plan to turn our focus to expanding this successful program to the other community-run clinics nearby where MTCTP is not running smoothly. After all our years of experience, GAIA’s medical staff is eager to share the incredible advances made possible through donations to this program with their community members. We are actively seeking funding through multiple partnerships to expand MTCTP; we hope you will join us in ensuring this life-saving program continues to benefit even more expecting mothers in Bamako.

 We are so grateful for all the years of your support!

Twins!
Twins!
10 years of prevention
10 years of prevention
 
   

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