Baylor, Bristol-Myers Squibb Open Pediatric HIV Clinic in Swaziland
The Baylor College of Medicine and Bristol-Myers Squibb on Friday opened a new pediatric HIV/AIDS center in Mbabane, Swaziland, the Houston Chronicle reports (Hopper, Houston Chronicle, 2/25). The Baylor-Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Clinical Center of Excellence, which was funded by a $2 million grant from BMS, is the first pediatric center devoted to caring for HIV-positive children in Swaziland. The clinic features modern facilities to test, treat and monitor children and their families and will train Swazi health care professionals. It also will focus on preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission (Baylor College release, 2/24). The clinic is part of a growing network by the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (Houston Chronicle, 2/25). Under the initiative, the Pediatric AIDS Corps, a program of Baylor College and BMS launched in June 2005, plans to send as many as 250 physicians to Africa for a two-year program to train local health care workers and treat HIV-positive children (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/18/05). Swaziland has one pediatrician to treat the country's 16,000 HIV-positive children, according to the Chronicle. Under the Baylor-BMS program, 10 doctors will travel to the country to work in the new center (Houston Chronicle, 2/25). An additional one or two Swazi doctors and 20 Swazi residents will make up the rest of the center's staff. According to Mark Kline, BIPAI director, the program estimates that one pediatrician can prevent about 1,300 pediatric AIDS-related deaths annually. With 10 BIPAI doctors scheduled to work at the Mbabene center, the program hopes to treat virtually all HIV-positive children in Swaziland. "The impact on this country will be enormous," Kline said. Doctors in the program also will work in remote areas of the country (Baylor release, 2/24). BIPAI clinics in Romania, Botswana, Lesotho and Malawi aim to treat 80,000 HIV-positive children in five years. The program plans to open centers Burkina Faso and Uganda in 2007 (Houston Chronicle, 2/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.