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 20, 2015

Get musical!

Teen Drummers
Teen Drummers

Our teen peer education program has been running for almost a year now!

48% of our participants are girls between the ages of 14 and 18.

18% are girls under the age of 14 and 22% are boys between 14 and 18.

30% of both girls and boys are not currently in school.

These statistics show that we are hitting our target population for teen peer education about reproductive health!

An exciting opportunity has come our way: renowned Malian drummer, Sidy Maiga, has expressed interest in partnering with GAIA to develop teen health education program that combines music and song. By teaching music as well as health, Sidy Maiga will help teens gain a voice and learn how to help educate each other. 

Please consider supporting this exciting new initiative! This could be the nest big step for our teen peer education program! 

Socrates, Peer educator
Socrates, Peer educator
Teens with the village chief
Teens with the village chief
Jul 20, 2015

Help us grow!

Kids at the clinic
Kids at the clinic

This June we celebrated 10 years of Mother To Child Transmission Prevention (MTCTP) at the Sikoro clinic in Bamako. Of course we had to have a party with the whole community including speeches, masked dancers, drumming, a theatre troupe, and a big, shared meal. Everyone is proud of the progress made by all towards a healthier safer community. It's amazing to think that some of those first HIV-free babies born at the clinic will be teenagers soon!

We also began the preliminary conversations with public health officials about expanding our program to other clinics in the region of Commune 1 (a district of Bamako). At other clinics, MTCTP has not been successful, and there's a lot to do to make sure that proper preventions measures take place. The first steps are to meet with staff at the clinics and determine what is preventing proper MTCTP from taking place. The next step will be staff trainings and community outreach.

The end goal will be to ensure that 100% of women who come in for pre-natal visits are offered free HIV testing and counseling. It's also important that 100% of women who test positive give birth at the clinic so that they have a safe, clean environment to reduce risk for the baby.

The government HIV prevention networks in Mali are making 2016 the year of MTCTP, and the goal is to eliminate this form of transmission entirely. GAIA has proven that we know how to eliminate vertical transmission, and we have 10 years of experience! 

Please join us as we start to grow this program so that we can have a greater effect preventing children in Mali from being born with HIV! Your help has always been crucial to us at GAIA!

Many thanks for your years of support!

Kids at the clinic
Kids at the clinic
Girl at the clinic
Girl at the clinic
Kids at the clinic
Kids at the clinic
Jul 1, 2015

Dressed to save lives

Women with HPV cloth show their screening cards
Women with HPV cloth show their screening cards

I was in a taxi passing the marketplace when I saw it: a bright blue dress with a looping yellow pattern worn by a woman disappearing into the crowd. The yellow pattern of interlocking uteruses, which could, at a quick glance, be mistook for a floral vine, is our HPV educational cloth, printed at COMATEX, the main Malian textile company. It is currently being worn on the streets of Bamako and distributed at 5 health clinics where cervical cancer screening is offered free to all women!

Our campaign is called “Sensibilisation”, meaning community education. By working through cultural communication channels like well-loved radio programming for women, community health workers, and influential women leaders, we have increased screening rates at the five participating clinics by over 6 fold. In Mali, where 44 out of every 100 thousand women die of cervical cancer, spreading information about the importance of screening will not only save women’s lives, it will prevent children losing a parent, and ensure that communities know the importance of HPV vaccination once the vaccine is widely available.

As for the fabric pattern, does it work? Although we only have preliminary data from a questionnaire given to women seeking screening, the numbers speak for themselves! Of all the women who had seen the cloth, 87% correctly identified the images in the pattern. This means our peer educators are doing an excellent job explaining the cloth, and our doctors and midwives are working hard to make sure women are referred for screenings. Everyone is doing their part to fight cervical cancer!

Not only is GAIA covering the cost of cervical cancer screening and the educational campaign, we are also providing biopsies to women who test positive for pre-cancerous lesions and free referrals for treatment so that they can enjoy a cancer-free future.

As a long-time supporter of this initiative, you have seen our long-dreamt of plans become life-saving realities. However, without your continued support, this program will run out of funding in September. Please consider making a gift so that we can keep offering life saving treatment to women in Mali. You can learn more about getting a piece of the cloth yourself by visiting our website: http://www.gaiavaccine.org/get-cloth/

We are infinitely grateful for your support,

Healthcare workers dressed in HPV cloth
Healthcare workers dressed in HPV cloth
HPV cloth is for men too!
HPV cloth is for men too!
GAIA team matching outfits!
GAIA team matching outfits!
midwives wearing HPV cloth
midwives wearing HPV cloth
 

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