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Jun 16, 2020

How COVID-19 is Impacting the Fight Against HIV

As populated by our headlines for the last several months, COVID-19 has placed normal
life at a complete standstill, overwhelming healthcare systems throughout the world. The most
vulnerable, unfortunately, happen to be many of the patients we work with here at Hope Center Clinic

HIV+ patients/those at risk of HIV infection in Mali are uniquely disadvantaged in that they are
both geographically and medically at risk. Many Malians lack access to proper healthcare and those who are HIV+ and immuncopromised are threatened by a virus that attacks the respiratory system. While encouraging treatment and
access to care was already challenging (and a major goal of GAIA Vaccine Foundation) without
a global pandemic, COVID-19 has overwhelmed health care resources in Mali, leading to many
of Malians unable to regularly attend their appointments or hesitation to do so. This can have
disastrous consequences... without your help!

Here at GAIA VF, we aim to raise funds that will be used immediately to help curb the
challenges of COVID-19 as they affect HIV+/high-risk populations in Mali. Namely, we aim to ensure
that our programs continue and that individuals are still receiving the proper care that they need.

Currently, we have been able to purchase limited PPE (masks, thermometers, etc.) for our clinic,
but more is urgently needed. In order to continue funding our programs that have been clinically
demonstrated to decrease contraction of HIV, GAIA is fully committed to addressing COVID-19
precautions while also maintaining/expanding access to HIV+ care.

Here’s a brief idea of how your contribution helps save lives in Mali:

(1) As of today, more than 21,000 pregnant women have been tested in our “Chez Rosalie”
MTCTP program, targeted towards counseling pregnant women- through GAIA, all
babies born to HIV-seropositive mothers have been HIV-free.

(2) Teenage Malian girls are at a higher risk of developing HIV/AIDS. The Teen Peer
Education Project has provided weekly health education sessions on reducing the risks of
acquiring STDs, HIV, HPV to more than one thousand Malian teenagers.

(3) At Hope Center Clinic in Mali, we have achieved dramatic success, providing access to
free HIV testing despite strikes, shortages of testing, and political strife. COVID-19 has the potential to not only severely disrupt our ability to test HIV, but also the proven preventative measures we have taken to help reduce the spread and contraction of HIV/AIDS in Mali. With your donation, we will not only be able to take enhanced precautions at the clinic accordingly, but also be able to ensure no abrupt halt of treatment or education that threatens a resurgence of the disease in Mali. 

Jun 12, 2020

Report Update on Supplies for COVID-19 in Mali

The number of COVID-19 cases in Mali now exceeds 1,700, more than triple the number of confirmed cases at the beginning of May. Since the beginning of June, there have been more than 400 reported new cases. 

While the number of cases now exceeds 200,000 on the continent of Africa, this is thankfully the lowest rate of COVID-19 infection of any continent. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the highest number of cases are in South Africa (highest on the continent), followed by Nigeria and Ghana.

Unfortunately, Mali is not adequately prepared in terms of personal protective equipment (PPE) or ventilators. According to the China Daily, there is approximately one ventilator for every million Malians. Additionally, the pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing issues such as food security and violence against civilians. 

In March, Mali began a lockdown and government-enforced curfew to control the spread of COVID-19, similar to lockdowns across the globe. However, elections still occurred in March, and political protests continued through May in some cities despite the curfew. Lockdown conditions have started to ease since June 1st, although there are still international travel/tourism restrictions in place and an obligation to wear a mask in many places. 

On June 4th, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank approved $22.4 million for COVID-19 programs in Gambia, Mali, and Niger. $9.55 million of this money will fund personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, lab equipment and ventilators. The other $12.83 million is directed toward preparing health facilities to face the pandemic. This project is being completed in collaboration with the West African Health Organization.  

GAIA VF has been working to prepare Hope Center Clinic since the virus spread to the African continent, but we are still in need more supplies and PPE. Most importantly, we must continue to provide these supplies as cases of COVID-19 are still rising in Mali.

May 27, 2020

Continuing Essential Care during the Pandemic

GAIA Vaccine Foundation continues to provide essential care to Malian mothers and daughters during the pandemic. While many NGO's have been forced to reduce their activities or even stop them all together, GAIA VF and Hope Center Clinic continue to operate and care for those most vulnerable. 

In April, 35 women were screened for cervical cancer at the clinic. These tests are extremely important in detecting cervical cancer early and preventing complications. 

A donation to GAIA VF through GlobalGiving today will enable us to continue providing HPV vaccinations and cervical cancers screenings. Thank you for your support to GAIA VF!

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