Lesotho clinic celebrates progress, promise on 10th anniversary and World AIDS Day

HOUSTON - Dec. 1, 2015 - World AIDS Day 2015 has special meaning to the physicians, staff and patients of the Baylor College of Medicine-Texas Children’s Hospital-Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence (COE) in Lesotho as they celebrate the progress, and promise on the day that marks 10 years since the clinic opened.

Lesotho has the second highest prevalence of HIV in the world at 23 percent. The COE is located in the capital city of Maseru and operates satellite clinics in 5 district capitals in the country.

A part of the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) at Texas Children’s Hospital Network, the COE has provided lifesaving care and treatment, along with education and training resources since Dec. 1, 2005 with the help of a public-private partnership between BIPAI, Texas Children’s Hospital, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundationand the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

“Children infected with HIV who started treatment ten years ago have lived to become teenagers and young adults,” said Edith Q. Mohapi, executive director of the BIPAI Lesotho COE. “Their care is unique because of the challenges of living with HIV in addition to the usual challenges of adolescence. Many of them have lost parents to HIV, and they are also dealing with poverty. We focus more intensively on their need for psychosocial support.”

As of September 2015, the COE has over 3,100 active patients. Ninety-two percent of the HIV-infected children, adolescents, and adults are receiving lifesaving anti-retroviral treatment. Annually, HIV testing and counseling is provided to almost 2,000 individuals.

With the opening of the COE and the team of health organizations and donors, HIV care and treatment services for children, adolescents and families have been scaled-up nationwide.

“We continue to build capacity in pediatric HIV, childhood tuberculosis and general pediatric health through the training of health professionals,” said Mohapi.

The Government of Lesotho will host an official Word AIDS Day Celebration at the clinic. The theme of the day will be “Ending AIDS Towards Sustainable Development.”

BIPAI Lesotho was chosen as the host site as they are at the forefront of dedication to improving these efforts in the country. Dignitaries attending the event included Her Majesty, ‘M’e ‘Masenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso, Deputy Prime Minister, Honorable Mothetjoa Metsing, Minister of Health, Hon. ‘Molotsi Monyamane, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, H.E. Hu Dingxian, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Ambassador of the United States of America to Lesotho, Amb. Matthew Harrington, United Nations Resident Coordinator, MS. Karla Robin Hershey and BIPAI Chief Operating Officer/Texas Children’s Director of Global Health, Michael B. Mizwa.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.