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Press Release  
Release Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 5:10 PM
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By Nyia Curtis
Howard University News Service

     
 
HU College of Pharmacy Saving Lives in Africa
 
     

WASHINGTON- Each day in Africa, 6,000 people die from AIDS-related illnesses, and 11,000 people are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In South Africa alone, more than 17 percent of nation’s population between ages 15 and 49 are infected with HIV/AIDS. More than 3 million women have the disease, 330,000 children are inflicted with it and nearly 2 million children have become orphans because of it.

In response to this global pandemic, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief funded several HIV prevention and treatment projects in Africa, including the Regional Outreach Addressing AIDS through Development Strategies (ROADS) and the Global HIV/AIDS Initiative Nigeria (GHAIN) projects.

Both programs are operated by the Howard University College of Pharmacy, in collaboration with Family Health International and several other partners. Howard’s role in both programs is to educate and train pharmacists and auxiliary workers, such as pharmacy assistants and pharmacy technicians, regarding prevention, treatment and counseling of HIV/AIDS.

The programs were originally housed in the Howard’s previous School of Continuing Education, and managed by Dr. Rosalyn King. Now, Dr. Anthony Wutoh, interim dean for the College of Pharmacy, is currently the project director for each program. He works with several other Howard University colleagues, including Dr. Grace Jennings, program coordinator for GHAIN, and Dr. Henry Fomundam, regional director for ROADS. Dr. Dorothy Oqua serves as the deputy project director and manages the GHAIN activities in Nigeria.

“The purpose of this project is to reduce the high instance of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria,” said Jennings, currently in Nigeria. “The role of Howard specifically is to assess pharmacies in Nigeria and to help build the skills of the pharmacists and build up the capabilities of the pharmacies in Nigeria to address the HIV epidemic.”

GHAIN, which started in 2004, has strengthened the capacity of 124 pharmacies in selected hospitals in 36 states of Nigeria, Jennings said. Consequently, 474,820 people have received care and more than 760, 000 pregnant women have received HIV counseling and testing, she said.

The ROADS project serves East and Central Africa.

“HIV prevalence is quite high along this transport corridor, so the ROADS project is addressing HIV/AIDS along specific transportation routes,” Fomundam said. “We are talking about Kenya, and also Tanzania, Rwanda and Sudan. These are several of the countries we have worked in.”

The ROADS project was created in 2005 and renewed in 2010. The program will continue until 2014.

“Mozambique has been added as a brand new country,” Fomundam said. “Sometimes it is not just adding the country; it is adding the specific communities affected by this disease.”

Each year, the ROADS project adds different communities along the transport corridor, allowing more and more infected clients to become educated and receive treatment. Together, the GHAIN and ROADS projects help and sometimes save lives of many people, Fomundam said.

“We have had a direct impact in terms of treating people, providing them with life saving therapies, making sure that they are in the system of care to receive not only anti retroviral drugs, but also other medical and clinical services,” he said.


   
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