Baylor to Open Clinics in Africa for Children with AIDS

The Baylor College of Medicine is teaming up with a pharmeceutical company to provide a corps of physicians and new clinics for children with AIDS in parts of Africa.

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The Baylor College of Medicine is teaming up with a pharmeceutical company to provide a corps of physicians and new clinics for children with AIDS in parts of Africa.

Under a partnership with Bristol-Myers-Squibb, the Baylor College of Medicine plans to open four Children's Clinical Centers in sub-Saharan Africa. One, located in Burkina Faso, will be the first clinic in Western Africa to specialize in HIV/AIDS treatment for children. Bristol-Myers-Squibb's Phangisilie Mtshali (Pong-a-seely Mih-shal-li) says building the necessary infrastructure is the first step in addressing the AIDS pandemic.

The college and pharmaceutical company have already partnered on other projects in Africa, including a clinic in Botswana that serves as the model for the new clinics. The World Health Organization estimates two million of the 2.2 million children with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Mark Kline is the director of the Baylor Pediatric AIDS Initiative.

To provide more treatment services, Baylor will train physicians in tropical medicine and AIDS care. Those doctors will also help train local physicians in Africa. They plan to send 50 doctors in the first year and up to 250 total in five years. Fitzhugh Mullan is a professor of Medicine and Health Policy at George Washington University and helped draft recommendations for a physician corps.

In addition to the doctors and clinics, Bristol-Myers-Squibb will also provide pediatric medications at a reduced rate. The company already provides some HIV medications at cost, they will further reduce the price of two pediatric formulations for the new clinics. Kline says it's not possible to overstate the impact the doctors and clinics have on the people.

Bristol-Myers-Squibb is contributing $30 million and Baylor College of Medicine will spend $10 million on the program. Doctors who join the physician corps will receive a stipend as well as assistance with paying off student loans. Baylor estimates the clinics will provide direct and outreach treatment for as many as 80,000 children.

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Laurie Johnson

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Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...