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Mike Mizwa, CEO of BIPAI, seated second from left, signs a memorandum of agreement to launch a maternal and child health program in Argentina.

The Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital is increasing its impact in South America through a new maternal and child health program in Argentina. A partnership of BIPAI, Chevron, the YPF Foundation and the Health Ministry of Neuquén province, the program will be based primarily in Añelo, the town closest to the Loma Campana development area, the country’s second-largest oil field, where Chevron and Argentina energy company YPF conduct operations.

“We have a long history of public-private partnerships and are very excited about starting up a new project in Latin America, and about working together with the Neuquén health system to improve health and welfare conditions for children and their families,” said Michael Mizwa, chief operating officer of BIPAI.

The program was officially launched with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement at a ceremony attended by Mizwa along with Neuquén Health Minister Ricardo Corradi Diez, Neuquén Minister of Energy and Public Utilities Alejandro Nicola, Mayor of Añelo Darío Díaz and representatives from Chevron Argentina and the YPF Foundation.

Neuquén’s public health system is nationally recognized for its high quality and efficiency. The proposed public-private partnership seeks to create mutual collaboration, with the support of various institutions in the Neuquén health system, including Castro Rendón Hospital, Añelo Health Center, Sanitary Zone V, Health Under-Secretariat, Health Ministry and the Municipal Government of Añelo.

The program is funded by Chevron over a three-year period and will leverage additional contributions from the YPF Foundation and YPF to support housing and logistics for physicians and for further development of the program. The initiative also creates a non-government organization for BIPAI in Argentina, which will employ Argentinian physicians to reinforce the program, create alternatives for training and facilitate professional exchanges among healthcare specialists in the province. Focus on maternal and child health is important for the region, where high family migration is expected. 

“Although using public-private partnerships to improve maternal-child health has been BIPAI’s modus operandi for decades throughout the world, it is new to Argentina. In the short time we have worked with the health minister and his team, together with Chevron and YPF, we have forged strong working relationships that will translate into better health options for young families and greater satisfaction for health professionals dedicated to serving those families,” said Dr. James Thomas, professor of pediatrics at Baylor who leads BIPAI efforts in South America.

“We believe this joint maternal-child health program could be very important to improve the quality of life for families in Añelo. Health is one of the main pillars in the sustainable development plan we have been working on with the municipal and provincial government for the city,” said Silvina Oberti, executive director of the YPF Foundation, which promotes education and sustainable development in the communities where the company has a presence. 

“For Chevron, community support, particularly involving healthcare, is one of the values behind everything we do. We are delighted to be part of this project and to help benefit the community of Añelo,” said Chevron Argentina General Manager Chris Stevens.

With the launch of this initiative, BIPAI now has two programs in South America. Its program in Colombia, SAIL, was recognized recently for its efforts to improve nutrition in the La Guajira region of the country.

BIPAI is an international pediatric initiative against AIDS created by Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital in 1996. The program has expanded to provide healthcare focusing on HIV/AIDS as well malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition and other conditions affecting the health and welfare of children and their families globally.