New Angola Sickle Cell Initiative draws energy, medical sector partnership
Chevron Africa Latin America Exploration and Production Company has signed a Cooperation Protocol with the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatrics AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) at Texas Children's Hospital and the Republic of Angola today in Luanda, Angola to establish the West African nation's first comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease program.
Chevron is supporting the Angola Sickle Cell Initiative with $4 million over 4 years. BIPAI, a joint program of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital located in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center in Houston, will provide the leadership, training and organization.
Helping build healthy communities
"Chevron's support of the Angola Sickle Cell Disease Initiative provides a critical new dimension in our ongoing efforts to improve child and maternal health and help build healthy communities in the places where we operate," said Ali Moshiri, president, Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company. "Today's agreement demonstrates how Chevron continues to help meet the most immediate social needs of Angola."
Angola has one of the world's highest rates of the genetic blood condition Sickle Cell Disease with up to 10,000 babies born with the disease each year contributing greatly to the country's high death rate of children under five years of age. The United Nations reports that 220 of 1,000 children in Angola die before reaching the age of 5.
"Until now, we have not been able to focus on the Sickle Cell Disease crisis within our existing health care delivery system," said José Van-Dúnem, Angola's minister of health who attended today's signing ceremony which was witnessed by Angola's First Lady, Ana Paula dos Santos.
"With the resources provided by this partnership with Chevron, Baylor and the Texas Children's Hospital, we will transform the lives of our children and families affected by Sickle Cell Disease. It is a significant step forward in addressing this critical need for the people of Angola."
A model for other programs
"BIPAI has a strong record of working with local governments and private partners in tackling what sometimes seem like overwhelming medical needs in the countries of Africa," said Michael Mizwa, BIPAI's chief operating officer and senior vice president. "We believe that the Sickle Cell program in Angola will become a model for other programs across the continent."
BIPAI, known worldwide for its programs for children and their families impacted by HIV/AIDS, will develop the pilot phase of the Angolan Sickle Cell Initiative with the goal of expansion to other areas in Africa.