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.
Oct 27, 2015

The results are in: 100% HIV free

At GAIA
At GAIA's clinic more women accept HIV testing

I'm writing to you from the European HIV/AIDS Conference where GAIA is presenting our research on Mother to Child Transmission Prevention (MTCTP). Now that we have celebrated 10 years of HIV prevention at the Hope Center Clinic in Sikoro, Mali, we have a decade of data to share with the scientific community and you, our loyal supporters!

 GAIA’s “Chez Rosalie” MTCPT program showed a consistently higher HIV test acceptance rates (over 93%) than reported for the rest of Mali (31% in 2011, UNAIDS/UNGASS Report). That means, pregnant mothers trust us and want to learn their status so they can protect their newborn from HIV.

The trend of reduction of HIV in Sikoro accelerated following introduction of MTCTP, as compared to other prenatal clinics in Bamako. Early introduction of MTCTP program may have lowered the HIV prevalence in Sikoro. 

The number of women and babies requiring MTCTP has decreased with time. Significant reductions in odds of transmission were seen when ARV treatment was provided during pregnancy or to infants immediately after birth. 100% of babies born to MTCTP-adherent mothers were HIV-seronegative.

The United Nations comprehensive approach to MTCTP lists the following components:

  1. Primary prevention of HIV among women of child bearing age
  2. Preventing unintended pregnancy among women living with HIV
  3. Preventing HIV transmission from a woman living with HIV to her infant
  4. Providing appropriate treatment, care and support to women living with HIV and their children and families

At GAIA’s Hope Center Clinic in Sikoro, we developed programs over the years that closely align with the UN priorities:

  • MTCTP began in 2005
  • Peer Education about HIV began in 2006
  • Comprehensive HIV care was established in 2008
  • Nutritional and Peer Support began in 2008
  • Teen Peer Education began in 2012

Our decade of HIV prevention in Sikoro shows that MTCTP interventions are feasible in low-resource settings, and in fact, are most successful when patients have access to local care.  Replication of GAIA’s programs at more community-run clinics in West Africa could significantly reduce the prevalence of HIV among children.

While HIV prevalence in Mali is relatively low at 1.4%, there are 68 000 women over the age of 15 estimated to be HIV infected in 2014. The estimated number of AIDS orphans in Mali is 59 000. (UNAIDS 2014) 

2016 will be the “Year of MTCTP” in Mali, and we aim to join in the national campaign to expand our programs and increase access to care 5-fold.  Currently we test approximately 1,500 pregnant women per year. By expanding to four more clinics, we could test and treat a total of 7,500 women per year.

Please join us to make 2016 the year of ZERO Mother to Child HIV Transmission! We can’t do it without you!

HIV rates have dropped faster at GAIA
HIV rates have dropped faster at GAIA's clinic
Happy mom and HIV-free babe
Happy mom and HIV-free babe
Sep 30, 2015

Last Day of Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month!

Team members explain cervical cancer screening
Team members explain cervical cancer screening

GAIA's 6-month study on cervical cancer prevention is drawing to a close and soon we'll have concrete results to share with the public health community in Mali!

Last week, we shared our research at the HPV conference in Lisbon, and here are some of the results we’d love to share with you:

In the first 4 months of the study, over 2,000 women were screened at the 5 participating clinics. 200 women answered our survey. When asked why they came in for a screening, 14.5% had participated in a peer educator-led education session in their neighborhood, 37.5% had participated in a healthcare personnel-led education session in their clinic, 19% heard about screening through word of mouth, and 17.5 % were referred by their doctor. All of these methods were more successful than the 9% of women who saw a government-run TV ad.

Only 17.5% knew what HPV was, but 81.5% had heard of cervical cancer. This is great news because it shows that women are starting to gain awareness about the importance of screening. 92.5% wanted the HPV vaccine to be available in Mali, and 87% wanted to enroll their daughter in a vaccination program.

94 women answered questions about the education session, and 94.6% thought the info they received was interesting. 82% had seen the HPV cloth, and 79% were able to correctly identify the information depicted in the cloth. 92.5% thought that textile design was a good way to transmit health information to women. 92.5% said they had shared the information they learned with others, and 95.7% said they would recommend screening to a friend, neighbor, or family member.

In celebration of September, Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, we are incredibly happy to have such great results from our campaign. Our team in Mali has learned so much and we are eager to refine our program as we continue to look for funding to continue offering screening and prevention to women.

Please join us in the fight against cervical cancer! We are making progress, but there is still a lot of work to be done! Your support means the world to us!

Midwives in Sikoro
Midwives in Sikoro
Dr. Tounkara presenting data at the HPV conference
Dr. Tounkara presenting data at the HPV conference
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
 
   

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