Our Global Voices Posts

Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a lead agency in the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), works every day with partners to accelerate HIV epidemic control efforts. Communities play a vital role in controlling and ultimately ending the epidemic. A key part of CDC’s efforts in Tanzania includes working with the Government of Tanzania, and partners to ensure all individuals within a community have access to life-saving HIV prevention and treatment services. Below are snapshot of stories highlighting CDC’s impact in Tanzania.

This Tanzanian Couple Plan Together, Dream Together, and Fight HIV Transmission Together

Voluntary Medical Male circumcision (VMMC) is a key HIV prevention intervention in Tanzania which offers a 60 percent protection against heterosexual HIV acquisition among men. Research also supports an association of VMMC with decreased risk of several diseases in women. Since 2009, nearly 80 percent of males aged 10-29 years have utilized VMMC services, but gaps remain. IntraHealth International, in partnership with CDC, leads the ToharaPlus project, and is working with the government to expand access to VMMC services in the regions around Lake Victoria, which have high HIV prevalence and low circumcision rates. Khadija Butemi, a twenty-one-year-old small-scale farmer from the Lake Victoria area, learned about VMMC through a public service announcement while doing her daily chores. After experiencing a number of health issues, she went to a nearby clinic to learn more. She explained the health benefits to her husband, and he agreed to have the procedure. He followed the health workers’ instructions carefully to ensure he healed properly. Khadija and her husband are happy with the results and now advocate for VMMC in their community sharing their experience with others.

Story One - This Tanzanian Couple Plan Together, Dream Together, and Fight HIV Transmission Together
Photo Credit: Josh Estey for IntraHealth International

In 2016, IntraHealth started using geographic information system mapping to pinpoint areas with high numbers of uncircumcised men. Prevalence estimates were obtained from a variety of robust data sources and geo-coded into geographically accurate areas. With advice from community experts and health care workers, this exercise helped determine areas with high numbers of uncircumcised men for strategic service delivery. In 2019, the team circumcised more than 450,000 men – a 40 percent increase from the prior year. The use of data also improved the delivery of VMMC services by streamlining implementation processes and reducing cost per client by 40 percent (from US$50 to about $30).

Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission Turns Around A Widow’s Life

Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission Turns Around A Widow’s Life
Photo Credit: Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative

Diana struggled in secondary school and dropped out to help her mother sell vegetables at the local market. Soon she met a trader and got married. After they were married her husband became frequently ill. “I was worried and went to the local dispensary where I was tested and found to be HIV-positive. I was devastated,” Diana said. After sharing the results with her husband, they enrolled in treatment, but her husband eventually died after he stopped taking his medication. Diana stayed on treatment, met a new partner, and got pregnant. Diana and her partner were worried about their unborn child. Determined to stay healthy and deliver safely, she joined a support group for HIV positive mothers. Diana was able to safely deliver her son and breastfeed. Her son is now three years old and HIV-negative. “I am really thankful for the support and my baby is HIV-negative, I received all the relevant knowledge and guidance with regard to pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal care. I urge pregnant mothers living with HIV to adhere to medication and heed healthcare providers’ advice after childbirth” says Diana. In 2019 alone, CDC in partnership with the Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative, and Tanzania’s Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children provided lifesaving antiretroviral therapy to more than 30,000 women like Diana receiving Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Transmission services in 12 regions in Tanzania.

A Journey from Drug Abuse to a Successful Farmer

A Journey from Drug Abuse to a Successful Farmer
Photo Credit: Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative

“I was completely lost. I used to sleep all day and remain awake for the whole night. I completely lost my focus,” said Mohamed a former drug abuser. Drug use is the reason he dropped out of college. He started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana when he was in secondary school and became addicted to heroin in high school. He tried to quit drugs but was never successful. In 2018, he saw friends successfully seeking treatment through a local medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic. MAT has been shown to be an effective treatment for opioid dependence, reducing risk behaviors related to injection drug use, and preventing HIV transmission. After learning about the benefits of MAT, he sought treatment for his heroin addiction. He has since made a full recovery, never relapsed, and works as a poultry farmer, and is establishing himself as an environmental activist. As one of nearly 300 MAT clinic beneficiaries at the local hospital in Mwanza, Mohamed is now a leader and MAT advocate working to encourage others to seek treatment for drug addiction. He is also developing a proposal to help other recipients of the treatment to find work in chicken and fish farming. In 2019, CDC and the Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative supported more than 4000 MAT beneficiaries to engage in positive health seeking behaviors in Tanzania.

From Contemplating Suicide to Becoming A Peer Educator

From Contemplating Suicide to Becoming A Peer Educator
Photo Credit: Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative

Joseph was distraught when he was diagnosed with HIV at 15 years old. “I didn’t like to be near anybody, even my own mother. I felt that I wasn’t loved.  I saw no point in continuing to live, and I thought that it would be better if I killed myself,” said Joseph. As the only member of his immediate family to have the virus, everyone was puzzled by his diagnosis.  It was recalled that when Joseph was two years old, he developed an acute fever and had to undergo a blood transfusion. The blood was donated by his uncle, who was later diagnosed with HIV. “It was really tough at first,” said Ms. Suzana, Joseph’s mother, noting there were times when he refused to take his HIV medication and his health deteriorated sharply. Joseph’s life changed when he joined a teen-friendly HIV support group. “Whenever I was at the club, I met fellow [HIV-positive] children, and saw that I wasn’t alone, but that there were many of us,” Joseph said. “We were taught how to live with HIV positively. We played, ate, and drank together. I began to see my true value, and thoughts of killing myself disappeared.” Now, Joseph earns a living as a barber. He lives a happy and healthy life and helps other teens cope with their HIV status. Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative, a CDC funded partner, supports children and adolescents living with HIV with psychosocial support camps throughout Tanzania.

Economic Empowerment Transforms the Lives of Young Girls In Rural Tanzania

Tatu graduated from primary school in 2017 but dropped out of school before receiving any secondary education. Eventually she started secretly engaging in transactional sex with multiple partners to support herself and her family. Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) face a disproportionately high HIV incidence rate compared to their male counterparts of the same age group. To reduce the risk of HIV infection among AGYW, PEPFAR launched the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) initiative, which uses evidence-based interventions to successfully address risk behaviors for HIV transmission and gender-based violence. ICAP at Columbia University, a CDC funded partner, is implementing the DREAMS program in Tanzania offering HIV awareness and testing, peer support groups, and economic empowerment through group savings and income-generating activities.

Tatu joined the DREAMS group of 15-19 year-olds, and learned how to stay safe and healthy, and abou

Economic Empowerment Transforms the Lives of Young Girls In Rural Tanzania
Photo credit: ICAP Tanzania

t economic strengthening opportunities through the WORTH+ activity within the program. With WORTH+ sessions, AGYW are empowered and equipped with knowledge and skills on how to develop business ideas, transforming them into lucrative businesses, starting and maintaining their business and saving in order to expand. Before joining the project, Tatu was selling sardines at her local market. With limited capital, she couldn’t manage to support her   business   as well as cater for her daily needs and expenses. “The economic empowerment sessions made me see the importance of being able to generate my own income and save appropriately. I started saving 1,000 Tanzanian shillings (~0.45USD) per week, and on May 2019 I took a loan to expand my business. I began selling sardines with a capital of 18,000 Tanzanian shillings (~ 7.85 USD) and with the loan I took, I currently have 60,000 Tanzanian shillings (~26 USD) operating capital. DREAMS made this possible for me.”

DREAMS training has helped Tatu to manage her business and generate sufficient income to cover her personal daily needs and to support her family occasionally. Being empowered economically has also helped her to protect herself from engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors.“Now because of my business improvement, I have been able to repay the loan I took from our group, support my parents on some household needs, and buy my own stuff,” she says. “I have realized the risks I was putting myself into before DREAMS, and I am now very careful of the decisions I make concerning health and sexual relationships. From now on, my life is no longer at risk as it used to be before I joined the program.  DREAMS changed my life!”

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CDC Responders talk about their experiences in Rwanda

Travelers get their temperature checked while crossing the DRC border into Rwanda.

Serving in Rwanda as an Assistant Ebola Coordinator CDC epidemiologist Shayne Gallaway served as Assistant Ebola Coordinator during multiple deployments to Rwanda for the 2018 Eastern DRC Ebola Response. Gallaway and team provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Health to prevent, detect, and respond to viral hemorrhagic fevers, including Ebola. He is a Lieutenant Read More >

Posted on by Shayne Gallaway / Dr. Kristie E. N. Clarke / Dr. Samira Sami / Todd Lucas, MD, MPHTags , ,

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

World Day Remembrance for Road traffic victims

  The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims takes place every third Sunday in November. It serves as a way to: Remember the millions of people killed and injured in road traffic crashes, and recognize their families, friends, and communities; Pay tribute to the dedicated emergency responders, police, and medical professionals who deal with Read More >

Posted on by Erin K. Sauber-Schatz, PhD, MPHTags , ,

We can finish the job of Polio Eradication but, it will not be easy.

afghanistan polio vaccination immunization campaign

This year, 2019, has been a challenging one for polio eradication.  Though we have made incredible gains in recent years, the polio program has faced two critical challenges. First, an increase in wild poliovirus (WPV) cases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the only two countries with detected WPV cases since 2016. And second, a large increase Read More >

Posted on by Dr. John Vertefeuille Branch Chief, Polio Eradication Branch, Global Immunization Division, Center for Global Heath, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTags , , ,

The Face of Dengue

Colorful bed nets

By mid-July 2019, more than 28,000 cases of dengue had been reported in Honduras with a total of 178 deaths. This outbreak is the biggest recorded in recent history. The total number of deaths in a seven-month period, marks this outbreak as having the highest death rate than any other in Honduras. It had been Read More >

Posted on by Beatriz LopezTags , ,

Strengthening the Heart of a Community in Thailand

Sampaow discusses her blood pressure reading with Monsasiporn and describes challenges she has been facing with self-monitoring. Photo credit: Henry Vandi

Henry Vandi is a CDC Foundation field employee in the Division of Global Health Protection in CDC’s Center for Global Health As we approached a house surrounded by lush, tropical vegetation, a petite but muscular woman with a warm smile greeted us on the porch. “Hello! I’ve been waiting for you!” Sampaow said cheerfully, wrapping Read More >

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A life-long career dedicated to protecting people against mosquito borne diseases

Dr. Bill Brogdon (center) along with USN CAPT (retired) David Hoel and National Malaria Control Program staff at PMI Entomology Training in Uganda, 2015

Many people don’t choose a career path until after college, or even after a few years of working in a particular field. But then, many are not like my former colleague, Dr. William (Bill) Brogdon. Bill first entered the doors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a 17-year-old high school student and Read More >

Posted on by Audrey Lenhart, Research EntomologistTags , , , ,

Controlling hepatitis B in Sierra Leone

Lisa Breakwell

The leading cause of liver cancer worldwide is hepatitis B virus (HBV). Sierra Leone is thought to have a high percentage, at least 8%, of the population actively infected with HBV. Some studies report that in Sierra Leone, 6% to 11% of pregnant women have active HBV infection, which they can transmit to their babies Read More >

Posted on by Lucy Breakwell, GIDTags ,

Three Responders talk about their experiences in Uganda

Protecting Uganda’s Border Vance Brown, Ebola Coordinator and Deputy Director for the Division of Global Health Protection Program in Uganda. Vance and team provide technical support to the Government of Uganda to prevent, detect and respond to especially dangerous pathogens, including Ebola. “It was 8:00 p.m. on a Friday when I got the call. CDC Read More >

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The Joint External Evaluation (JEE) Process: Assessing health security in Côte d’Ivoire

Serigne Ndiaye, CDC GHSA Program Director for Cote d'Ivoire, center, meets with community leaders

Conducting a JEE Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is a small country in West Africa, neighboring Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana. It has a population of over 25 million people, about half of whom live in urban centers across the country. Diseases of great concern for the country include yellow fever, cholera, meningitis, measles, Read More >

Posted on by Serigne Ndiaye, CDC GHSA Program DirectorTags , , , , , ,