Former U.S. President George W. Bush visits HSPH-affiliated AIDS clinic in Tanzania

December 2, 2011 — On World AIDS Day, George W. Bush and Laura Bush visited the new Mnazi Mmoja Center for Excellence in HIV Care and Education in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) helped establish the Center and currently provides management and leadership development training at the Center as part of the School’s efforts to improve AIDS research and the delivery of AIDS care and treatment services in Tanzania.

The Bushes visit, on December 1, 2011, was the first stop on their tour of Africa to see the impact of the massive U.S. government investment in AIDS in Africa begun during the Bush presidency. Through the Global Fund and the government’s PEPFAR program, the United States has enabled 4.7 million people to take life-sustaining drugs against HIV.

The Mnazi Mmoja Center provides a variety of services, including a general outpatient clinic with family planning services, reproductive and child health services, HIV care and treatment services, and tuberculosis/HIV services. It also serves as a site for HIV management training to develop nationally recognized leaders in the field. The education and operations research components of the program are a major focus of HSPH’s work with the Center.

Funding for Mnazi Mmoja comes from the U.S, via the Harvard Tanzania PEPFAR and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and an agreement with MDH. MDH is a newly registered independent organization in Tanzania, established with support from HSPH, with the aim of sustaining and expanding the existing public health service programs.

HSPH faculty members, including Wafaie FawziDavid Hunter, and Walter Willett, have worked in Tanzania for more than 30 years. HSPH has conducted large clinical trials on infectious diseases, maternal and child health, and nutrition, as well as made major efforts related to training of future public health leaders.

The Mnazi Mmoja Center provides a wide range of outpatient health services to the 634,924 citizens of the Ilala municipality in Tanzania. Opened in mid-2011, the new four-story center offers advanced HIV management, receiving and actively managing complicated HIV cases from Dar es Salaam and other regions in Tanzania. Currently, more than 4,000 patients are enrolled at the Mnazi Mmoja/Amtulabhai Clinic CTC, of which about half have been initiated on antiretroviral therapy (ART).

–Julie Rafferty

photo: TheBushCenter