Author Archive

SIC Alumnae Bikes 1200 Miles for SIC!

Posted by on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Never one to shy away from adventure, SIC alumnae, Vikki Fanslow (VP4 2009 Volunteer, VP3 2010 Coordinator), has just returned from a month-long bike tour to raise funds for and awareness about SIC.  Vikki recruited her friend, Diane Gattenhammer, and together they road from Vancouver to San Francisco in May of 2011…

Vikki and Diane raise $2,200 for SIC and had the trip of a lifetime.  SIC cannot thank them enough for their efforts, both on bikes and off!  Read all about Vikki and Diane’s adventure in this month’s Alumni Spotlight!

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UN urges more funds for early HIV treatment

Posted by on Friday, June 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm

The BBC reports:

The UN Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) has called for increased funding for the early treatment of people with HIV.

The head of the agency, Michael Sidibe, said a new study showed it could reduce the risk of HIV transmission by 96%.

He said the challenge was to expand access to drugs, and deal with social factors which stigmatise the disease.

On Thursday, a UN report said there had been a nearly 25% decline in new HIV infections and a reduction in Aids-related deaths during the past decade.

It was published ahead of the 30th anniversary on Sunday of the first official report on Aids by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The General Assembly is to meet at UN headquarters to discuss the epidemic next week, with 20 world leaders and more than 100 ministers expected to attend.

An estimated 34 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2010 and nearly 30 million have died from Aids-related causes since 1981, the report said.

To read the full article, please click here.

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US National Institutes of Health: Anti-retroviral drugs ‘help reduce’ HIV transmission

Posted by on Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm

The BBC reports:

An HIV-positive person who takes anti-retroviral drugs after diagnosis, rather than when their health declines, can cut the risk of spreading the virus to uninfected partners by 96%, according to a study.

The United States National Institutes of Health sampled 1,763 couples in which one partner was infected by HIV.

It was abandoned four years early as the trial was so successful.

“This breakthrough is a serious game changer and will drive the prevention revolution forward. It makes HIV treatment a new priority prevention option,” said Michel Sidibe, executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS).

Read the full story here.

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Have a Coke and an Anti-Retroviral – Fighting AIDS in Tanzania

Posted by on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm

In May of 2011, Slate journalist Sonia Smith traveled to Tanzania with a group of international journalists to see the efforts being made to improve the health care system and beat back the scourges of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Her trip gave her access to some of the up-and-coming projects helping to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, with the unlikely help the Coca Cola Corporation.

She writes, “A Coca-Cola truck rumbled down the road, ferrying its bubbly, sugary cargo to shops and kiosks in the northern part of the country around the edge of Kilimanjaro National Park. The one thing you can be sure of finding in any far-flung corner of Tanzania is a bottle of Coke. A new pilot program—the first of its kind—aims to make anti-retroviral drugs as easily accessible as a bottle of soda by tapping into Coca-Cola’s established delivery network throughout Tanzania.”

Read her complete article here.

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UNESCO: Sexuality education for young people highly cost-effective

Posted by on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm


Sexuality education programmes can be highly cost-effective, especially when compulsory, adapted from existing models and integrated into the mainstream school curriculum. This is the major conclusion emerging from a seminal study released by UNESCO during a meeting of the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Education in New York on 27 April 2011.

The study, Cost and cost-effectiveness: Analysis of school-based sexuality education programmes in six countries, examines a range of programmes in Estonia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, the Netherlands and Nigeria. It highlights significant cost savings in a number of settings. It also shows that compulsory programmes are more cost-effective as they reap the benefits and greater impact of full coverage of the student population.

For example, in Estonia a national sexuality education programme was introduced and linked with accessible, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services. Between 2001 and 2009 some 13 490 ‘health events’ were averted in the country, including nearly 2 000 HIV infections, at a potential lifetime cost of US$ 67 825 per patient, approximately 4 300 unintended pregnancies and more than 7 000 sexually transmitted infections.

To read the rest of the story, please click here.

SIC Summit – Viongozi Rika

Posted by on Monday, June 13, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Last July SIC kicked off the Viongozi Rika Peer Leaders Project supported by the Community Grants Program at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam. SIC staff worked with ten HIV-positive support groups to identify peer leaders and facilitate a training in best practices for ARV adherence. After the training the peer leaders returned to their communities to share their new knowledge.

So far the project has been very successful and the peer leaders have done a great job educating their support groups as well as encouraging ARV adherence. This month SIC held a summit in Arusha for 34 members of Viongozi Rika. 25 of the participants were women. The summit was an opportunity for the peer leaders to highlight the challenges they are facing in their communities as well as the successes of the program. It was evident that the peer leaders had all gained a great deal of confidence since the last training. During the event the peer leaders were not only able to seek advice from SIC staff, but also from one another. Additionally, the SIC Field Officers had an opportunity to review teaching material and answer any questions the participants had.

The SIC Field Officers, who administered the summit, were very impressed specifically with how much the women had grown since the first training, “during the first training many of the women were shy and quiet, now the female peer leaders are confident and very strong.” Some female peer leaders have developed their own education programs and have gained the confidence to stand up in front of both their peers and members of the local government. Many have also began overseeing the care of children living with HIV in their villages and making sure that the are attending the clinic to receive the correct medication on time.

Anton, one of the Field Officers, shared a story of how the female peer leaders have been empowered to help other women in their communities overcome stigma and learn to properly take care of themselves. He told a story of a man in Mlangarini who approached a SIC Community Health Worker (CHW) because he was not feeling well and he wanted to get tested for HIV. The man got tested and learned that he was living with HIV. When he told his wife his status she was furious and decided to leave. The man traveled to see his wife and try to convince her to return home, but she refused. She was also sick, but did not want to get tested or even think about the possibility of being HIV-positive. The man returned to Mlangarini upset and discouraged. The man decided to speak with one of the female peer leaders about the situation and fortunately she offered to travel to the village and speak with his wife about getting tested and returning home. She was able to encourage the man’s wife to return home and learn her status. Now the peer leader meets regularly with the wife and provides emotional support to the family.

The Viongozi Rika Peer Leaders project has empowered women to stand up and educate others as well as encourage one another. The project has been very successful and SIC looks forward to continuing to work with all of the peer leaders in the fight against HIV.

Content provided by Anna Spector, Program Officer, Support for International Change

A Price Break for Antiretroviral Drugs in 70 of the World’s Poorest Countries

Posted by on Friday, May 27, 2011 at 12:10 am

The New York Times reports that modern antiretroviral drugs will be sold at lower prices in 70 of the world’s poorest countries.

The most important price breaks, announced last week, were for first-line treatments containing the drugs tenofovir and efavirenz, and second-line regimens containing atazanavir and ritonavir.

The most important price breaks, announced last week, were for first-line treatments containing the drugs tenofovir and efavirenz, and second-line regimens containing atazanavir and ritonavir.

Cocktails of AIDS drugs that once sold for $12,000 or more per year in rich nations are now available in poor ones for less than $200. Still, many patients in poor countries get drugs like AZT and nevirapine, which were developed decades ago and can have harsh side effects.

Combinations containing tenofovir, introduced 10 years ago, are now recommended by the World Health Organization because they have fewer side effects and the AIDS virus is less likely to develop resistance to them. The price of one such combination has dropped to $159 from $400 in three years.

To read the complete story, please click here.

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All-Aboard Ishi’s Youth Train!

Posted by on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm

The YAG perform to the village leaders and the gathered
audience during the community HIV-awareness event in Magugu.

The collaboration between SIC and “Ishi” Campaign in Manyara region officially launched into action this month, with the Ishi “Youth Advisory Group” (YAG) implementing a range of activities in Babati district with the support of SIC staff. These included HIV/life skills discussions with groups of male and female out-of-school youth in both Magugu and Gallapo wards.  Aside from these formal classes, the month’s highlight was without a doubt the community HIV-awareness event held in Magugu centre on Saturday, April 16. The day – appropriately themed “protect yourself from HIV, limit yourself to one sexual partner” – was packed with music, performances, educational materials, speeches, competitions, prizes, and of course, SIC’s famous mobile voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) unit. The targeted audience of youth from the area definitely seemed to learn and benefit from the occasion, with a total of 190 people being tested by day’s end. Thanks to Field Officer Yusuph Selemani and all the YAGs for their enormous efforts, and we look forward to a similar success at the Ishi Campaign community event planned for Gallapo next month.


Stanford – NBC News Global Health Media Fellowship

Posted by on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 12:04 am

Stanford University’s Center for Global Health is proposing the first Fellowship in Global Health Media to train a new generation of physicians to be able to use the power of media to enhance the impact of their work in global health. Fellows will learn how media can play a significant role in humanitarian relief efforts, foundation and governmental funding of development efforts, and individual health choices. This opportunity is targeted to provide medical students, residents and/or faculty with 12-months of practical training in global health reporting using a variety of media platforms including: radio, print, investigative journalism, photography, television and social networking.

Up to two fellows will be selected to complete a 12-month fellowship with leading media companies, examples include: NBC News, ProPublica, NING, and the Journal for Health Affairs. Fellows will complete training programs through the Stanford University Graduate Program in Journalism and the Kaiser Family Foundation. A renowned documentary filmmaker and an award-winning photographer will train fellows in the impact that still photographs and short films can have on global health. The Fellow may intern with ProPublica learning how to report and work on stories with “moral force”. S/he will also be embedded with Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Chief Medical Editor for NBC News and her producer to research the ‘news of the day’ and learn how Nightly News stories are chosen to be highlighted in the US. There will be opportunities to travel abroad on site to cover a story.

This unique fellowship will expose participants to the media industry, specifically teaching:

  • How journalists select topics, stories and issues to cover in the field of global health;
  • Techniques of presenting and writing about science and health to effectively communicate and appeal to their audience;
  • How images through photography and video can be used to tell a story;
  • Ethical considerations and approaches to investigative journalism; and
  • About new channels and technologies for communicating to a mass audience, including best practices of social networking.

Upon completion of the Fellowship, the Fellow will be required to produce a publication on an in-depth topic of choice in global health. The Fellow will be mentored towards this goal through the training s/he will receive over the course of the 12-months.

Fellows will return to their medical training with the expectation that in addition to treating patients, conducting research or teaching, that they will also become spokespeople for global health issues in the media. We believe that this will improve the quality and increase the quantity of coverage of global health issues in the media, which will contribute to better understanding and support by the public.

Each Fellow will receive a stipend of 60,000 US dollars. The fellowship will commence in June 2011 and run for 12 months.

How to Apply
The application form and all application materials must be submitted by the deadline (Monday, May 16, 2011). Medical students who have completed their first two years of medical school, residents and faculty are eligible.

Mail to:
Joce Rodriguez
Center for Global Health
251 Campus Drive, x3C40
Stanford, CA 94305
P: 650.736.1043
F: 650.723.8596

For questions regarding this fellowship, please contact Joce Rodriguez.

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News from Tupambane – “VIGEGOVEWI” on the Island of Mirongoine

Posted by on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Many talented Tanzanian young professionals with a passion for community development are forced to abandon rural work for more lucrative fields.  Yet strong interest exists.  SIC routinely receives ten times as many applications as there are spots for Tanzanian college students interested in community development.  These young people need hands-on, community-based experience in order to expand their skills and pursue careers as future leaders in development.

Tupambane is our volunteer program for motivated Tanzanian youth. The program was created in 2004 to complement our programs for Americans. Tupambane (too-pam-baan-ee) is a Swahili word meaning ‘to join together against the common foe.’

Our 2011 Tupambane program was a great success!  Some news from the volunteers in Mirongoine:

“VIGEOGOVEWI.” The initials of the five enthusiastic Tupambane educators (Victoria, George, Godfrey, Veronica, and Wilson) in Mirongoine village, Oljoro Ward. This village is called Mirongoine because it is surrounded with four seasonal rivers. We feel so proud to work within this amazing community. Our homestay families are so hospitable and this makes us want to work harder to help their fellow community members. Our leaders in our village have also
been great to collaborate with and have helped us to organize their people to plan for big events, testing days, and teachings. Religious leaders have also given us the opportunity to teach in their churches which is often very difficult and controversial.

We have also come across stigma within Mirongoine village which has been one of our greatest challenges. For example, some people think that providing Anti-Retro Viral Drugs to people with AIDS is wrong because it makes them feel better. Many think that people with HIV/AIDS don’t deserve a cure or any form of relief. We found this very sad but at the same time we are happy to be here to help to fight this stigma. We want the community to know that people living with HIV/AIDS are active and productive community members that deserve to live long and healthy lives.

We are looking forward to our upcoming community day and hope to test over 117 people in order to meet our program goal of 600. Tuko Pamoja kuushinda UKIMWI (We are together in the fight against HIV/AIDS)!

To learn more about our Awareness Campaigns, please click here.