GHI highlights UW, African colleagues HIV/AIDS conversations

“When do you tell a child who was born with the virus that he is HIV-positive?”
“What do you do when a patient has taken so many pills for so long that she refuses to take any more?”
“Stigma is alive and well everywhere: How do you help patients know who to tell and when to remain silent?”

These were just a few of the many questions and conversations among physicians, nurses, midwives and social workers from Kenya, Lesotho , Nigeria, Botswana, Uganda and Wisconsin while twenty-five Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders visited Madison this summer. Nearly half of this year’s twenty-five Mandela Washington Fellows were professionals in a health related field in their home country.

Discussion during the GHI presentation this summer.
Discussion during the GHI presentation this summer.

The UW – Global Health Institute recently highlighted this connection between UW health professionals and the MWF health professionals in an article published on their website.  GHI pointed out that although resources in each place are very different, each can claim the same rate of success –measured by the number of patients whose HIV is enough under control that no virus can be detected.  About 30 percent of African patients reach that zero viral goal, and the same in the U.S.

Mandela Fellow, Susan Mmalane, a health care worker in a refugee camp in Botswana, said “We are practicing in a different way, but at the end of the day, we have the same goal. We’re looking to an HIV-free future.”

Susan Gold, a UW Health HIV nurse, said, “We tend to think we’d be so much better. But (the results are) about the same because there are so many barriers to care all over the world. It doesn’t matter what country you live in, HIV has huge effects, economically, politically, socially. We’re all in this together. (The meeting) was an affirmation that the fight goes on.”

To learn more about the health connection and conversation among the Mandela Washington Fellows and UW Global Health Institute, read the full article.