Gates Foundation To Grant $17M to University of Manitoba To Expand HIV/AIDS Programs in India
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday is expected to award the University of Manitoba in Canada a $17 million grant to expand its HIV/AIDS programs in India, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports (Smith, Globe and Mail, 1/6). The university has been working with approximately 10% of the population in the Indian province of Karnataka with a grant from the Canadian Economic Development Agency (Martin, Winnipeg Free Press, 1/6). The funds will go to a collaborative project between the university and the government of Karnataka, where 500,000 of its 55 million people -- about 1.7% of the province's population -- are living with HIV/AIDS (Agrell, National Post, 1/6). According to the Press Trust of India, the Transport Corporation of India Foundation and Population Services International will share an additional $8 million Gates grant as project partners with the University of Manitoba, the Free Press reports. The groups would work in collaboration with the Karnataka State Aids Prevention Society to offer HIV prevention programs to high-risk populations, according to the Free Press. With the grant, the university and its partners will provide HIV/AIDS counseling and testing, behavior-change communication campaigns, condom promotion and improved diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, according to the Press Trust of India, the Free Press reports.
Dr. John O'Neil, head of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, said, "We try to come up with innovative ways to respond to the epidemic. What Gates recognized is it's an evidence-based approach we are taking, and secondarily, that we were evaluating what we were doing very carefully, to measure the impact of what we were doing" (Winnipeg Free Press, 1/6). Helene Gayle, Gates Foundation director of HIV, tuberculosis and reproductive health, said that the foundation is "very pleased to support the University of Manitoba's efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in India." Stephen Moses, University of Manitoba professor of community health sciences, medical microbiology and medicine, who will lead the program along with associate professor James Blanchard, said, "We've learned from our experiences in Kenya and elsewhere that the most effective approach to HIV/AIDS prevention is to focus on the most vulnerable groups, and empower these people to improve their own health and the health of their communities" (National Post, 1/6).
Additional information on HIV/AIDS in India is available online as part of kaisernetwork.org's Issue Spotlight on HIV/AIDS.
Also available online is a kaisernetwork.org video feature on HIV/AIDS in India. The report -- prepared by Fred de Sam Lazaro, a correspondent for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer -- includes interviews with people who are on frontlines of India's efforts.