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International News

Democratic Republic of Congo: $100,000 Grant to Help Agency Combat AIDS

July 22, 2004

Carroll County, Md.-based Interchurch Medical Assistance (IMA), an association of a dozen Protestant churches that has provided international emergency relief for almost 45 years, has received a $100,000 grant from Pfizer to strengthen its efforts to fight AIDS in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The money will be used to enhance Congo's health-care system as well as offer testing, counseling, treatment and caregiver training.

"The grant enables IMA to knit together the infrastructure hospitals need to access the drugs right in their own country. Our job also is education, to provide information to hospitals and to extend that program beyond the hospitals into the communities," said IMA President Paul Derstine.

"With AIDS, there are continual changes around treatment," Derstine explained. "We know we are not going to cure this disease, but we want to be part of the program of services that helps alleviate suffering. IMA is looking at the whole picture. We can't do it all, but we want to add tools to the treatment process wherever we can."

The association has significant experience in the Congolese health-care system. In 2001, the U.S. Agency for International Development awarded IMA a $25 million grant -- one of the largest ever -- to fight AIDS in Congo and rebuild its health care infrastructure, which serves about 50 million people. The grant has helped IMA's large network of Congo missionaries reestablish basic health services, in addition to boosting HIV treatment and prevention.

IMA is also part of a five-member consortium of relief organizations that share in a $355 million federal grant, awarded in January, to establish prevention programs, diagnostic capabilities and treatment in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Back to other news for July 22, 2004

Adapted from:
Baltimore Sun
07.18.04; Mary Gail Hare

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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