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FXB Center Partners With The Merck Company Foundation to Reduce Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Rates in Botswana

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 12:31pm
Bio-Medicine.Org

NEWARK, N.J., March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center (FXB) of the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ) School of Nursing will provide training to 150 clinicians in Botswana who will then train more than 6,000 healthcare workers thanks to a grant of nearly $375,000 from The Merck Company Foundation.

These healthcare workers will ultimately support Botswana's efforts to improve systems for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT).

The two-year grant from The Merck Company Foundation through the Foundation of UMDNJ aims to reduce the number of infants and children with HIV and ensure timely diagnosis of those who are infected so that they can be enrolled early in HIV care.  FXB Center staff will work directly with the Botswana Ministry of Health to support the planning, implementation and evaluation of healthcare worker training.

"The FXB Center has a strong reputation for the expertise of its staff and the quality of its technical assistance and training materials aimed at preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in countries with limited health resources," explained Ellen W. Lambert, executive vice president, The Merck Company Foundation. "These new funds build upon our existing support in Botswana and we hope will help further accelerate the progress being made in reducing transmission of the disease."

Ten years ago the government of Botswana, with support from Merck and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, established a model public-private partnership, called the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships, to support the county's battle against HIV. Today, more than 90 percent of pregnant women living with HIV in Botswana receive care, treatment and support to reduce their risk of passing HIV to their babies.  Since Botswana established its PMTCT Program in 1999, rates of mother-to-child transmission have fallen from an estimated 40% to 4%. &#

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