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Baylor College of Medicine News

Baylor pediatric HIV/AIDS program expands in Lesotho

Dr. Paul Klotman talks with children as he tours the Baylor-Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence in Maseru. Photo by Smiley N. Pool.

The Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children's Hospital will expand its clinical and educational efforts to reach the most remote villages of Lesotho with the opening of two new satellite clinical centers in the country: the Baylor College of Medicine-Bristol-Myers Squibb Satellite Children's Centre of Excellence in Botha Bothe and the Baylor College of Medicine-Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Clinical Center of Excellence in Mokhotlong.

With the Baylor College of Medicine-Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Clinical Center of Excellence (COE) in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, the satellite centers help decentralize health care outside of the capital city and act as a catalyst to build outreach, adolescent resources and educational programs.

With the addition of the two new centers in the Botha Bothe and Mokhotlong districts, BIPAI now operates a total of four satellite centers in Lesotho. The centers are supported by funding from BCM, Texas Children's Hospital and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, as well as the government of Lesotho.

New satellite centers

"These new satellite centers bring us one step closer to ensuring that all children in Lesotho have access to HIV/AIDS care and treatment," said Dr. Mark Kline, physician-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital, chair of pediatrics at BCM, and founder of BIPAI. "In partnership with the government, I am proud to see BIPAI expanding into even more geographic areas of the Kingdom of Lesotho."

BIPAI staff mentor and train local healthcare providers on providing high-quality services for HIV-infected children and families, helping to expand access of children and families to lifesaving care and treatment.

Other services include testing, counseling, care, treatment and psychosocial support for HIV-affected families and diagnosis and treatment of other common diseases, such as tuberculosis.

Because of Lesotho's mountainous terrain, access to care and treatment at permanent outreach clinics outside of the capital city is particularly important to reach the country's many remote villages.

Dedication attendees

A dedication of the opening of the four satellite centers was celebrated in special ceremonies led by the Right Honourable Prime Minister Dr. Thomas Motsoahae Thabane on June 12 in Lesotho. Also present were The Hon. Minister of Health, Dr. Pinkie Rosemary Manamolela and other Cabinet Ministers of the Lesotho Government.

Attending the special ceremonies were Dr. Paul Klotman, president and CEO of BCM; Michael Mizwa, chief operating officer of BIPAI; Nancy R. Calles, Senior Vice President of BIPAI: Lamberto Andreotti, CEO of Bristol Myers Squibb; and John Damonti, President of Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation

Strong commitment

"Baylor College of Medicine has a strong commitment to improving global health," said Klotman. "The BIPAI program, its legacy and continued expansion is one of Baylor's greatest contributions to this mission."

"We are proud to partner with Baylor College of Medicine and the government of Lesotho to help ensure that children throughout Lesotho have access to high-quality HIV care and supportive services," said Andreotti. "By making children a priority, we are taking important, concrete steps to secure the future for Lesotho and give hope to an entire generation of boys and girls."

BIPAI was founded by Kline, chair of pediatrics at BCM and physician-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital, in 1996. The program, which treats approximately 175,000 children and families, has expanded to a broad network of clinics and satellite centers that blanket southern and east Africa.