Haiti Health

Haiti AIDS research clinic wins global health prize

 

jcharles@MiamiHerald.com

A world-renown Haiti clinic that has become a leader in global health while leading the fight against HIV/AIDS now has one more accolade to add to its file: fighter against tuberculosis.

The Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO) has been named a recipient of the 2013 World Health Organization’s Stop TB Partnership Kochon Prize in Tuberculosis. Founder Dr. Jean William Pape was informed of the honor in a Dec. 20 letter from Partnership Executive Secretary Lucica Ditiu.

The annual prize is given to organizations that have made a significant contribution to combating TB. This year’s $65,000 prize was designated for fighting TB in conflict and refugee areas.

“GHESKIO’s leading work in HIV and TB for the past three decades and more recently for providing treatment services for the 1.5 million people who were internally displaced by Haiti’s earthquake in 2010 were especially commended,” Ditiu said.

After Haiti’s devastating earthquake, four years ago next month, GHESKIO sent mobile teams into the newly erected refugee camps to screen people for TB and opened a field hospital to provide care. The group has continued to work with those affected by the disaster, and a subsequent cholera outbreak.

The Kochon prize is funded by the Kochon Foundation, a nonprofit organization in South Korea, and winners are selected by the Stop TB Partnership, an international body that is housed at the WHO. The winner must be approved by the director-general of the World Health Organization.

Pape said the funds will help toward the construction of a TB hospital in construction. GHESKIO also is building a Family Nutrition Center, as well as continuing its outreach with residents living in the low-lying Village of God slum across from its downtown Port-au-Prince clinic.

The award ceremony for the Kochon Prize will take place Jan. 31 in Cape Town, South Africa.

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