PBS’ ‘News Hour’ Examines Efforts of Baylor’s Pediatric AIDS Corps To Fight HIV/AIDS in Africa
PBS' "News Hour with Jim Lehrer" on Thursday examined efforts from the Baylor College of Medicine's Pediatric AIDS Corps to fight HIV/AIDS among children in Malawi. About 83,000 children in Malawi are living with HIV/AIDS, according to physician Peter Kazembe, and until recently, only two pediatricians in the country provided treatment for them.
The program aims to implement "long-term solutions" to "encourage African doctors to remain in Africa and to bring back African doctors who have emigrated" to developed countries because of better opportunities, according to Mark Kline, a physician at BCM who launched the program. "But while those fixes are being put in place, we can't afford to lose a generation of children to this epidemic," Kline said. Participating physicians receive medical equipment and drugs, including antiretrovirals, that are not readily available in many areas on the continent. The program, which receives funding from pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb, has placed about 60 physicians in 11 African countries since 2005. The mission of the program is not only to treat patients but also to train local providers.
Kline said he believes many physicians participate in the program because they "feel that AIDS in Africa is the challenge of this generation." He added that PAC physicians are "a very highly idealistic group of young physicians" who "want to do something very meaningful" and have an "immediate impact." The story also includes comments from Fitzhugh Mullan, a physician at George Washington University Hospital, and several physicians who have participated in the program (Lazaro, "News Hour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 7/17).