In The News
NEW INFECTIOUS DISEASES INSTITUTE (IDI) TO ENHANCE TREATMENT OF PATIENTS AND TRAINING OF HEALTH PROFESSIONALS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
October 20, 2004: The Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), a new medical facility providing state of the art training and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases opened its doors on the grounds of the Makerere University. The Institute, one of the largest centers of its kind in East Africa, has the capacity to treat up to 300 HIV/AIDS patients daily and will be a major center for training medical professionals in advanced HIV/AIDS management techniques.
The opening of the IDI is the result of a unique, public-private partnership between a number of organizations committed to working across borders to advance HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and care. The partnership includes Pfizer Inc, a global pharmaceutical company, Makerere University, the Academic Alliance Foundation for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Foundation have contributed more than $15 million USD to support construction of the building, equipping and staffing programs at the new facility where, training, operational research and patient care will be delivered under the same roof.
Professor Nelson K. Sewankambo, Dean, Faculty of Medicine at the Makerere University said, “The establishment of the IDI is a significant milestone for the university. This project represents the first infrastructure investment at the medical school in 35 years. Pfizer’s staff and financial resources have been critical to this endeavor and will help Makerere renew its reputation as a leading educational institute in Africa and worldwide.”
“Our participation in this important partnership reflects Pfizer’s commitment to focus on initiatives that will benefit patients that have the greatest medical need,” said Pfizer Chairman and CEO, Hank McKinnell, Ph.D. “We are confident that our vision for the IDI will further strengthen this institution of medical education in Africa. The training initiatives undertaken here will ultimately result in improved care for millions of patients.”
The creation of the IDI was first announced in 2001 in response to a shortage of adequately trained HIV/AIDS medical staff and a growing need for improved treatment of people living with AIDS. The IDI began offering limited services from a small clinic at Mulago Hospital in 2002. Training activities also began in May of that year. The new center opened today will offer services five days a week and will be able to treat 300 patients daily, a three-fold increase in capacity.
To date, more than 250 physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals from 13 countries in Africa have received training at the IDI through a partnership of local and international HIV/AIDS specialists, including leading experts from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Added to this, more than 8,000 HIV/AIDS patients have been treated at the institute.
“The IDI reflects true partnerships between academicians in North America and Africa and the public/private sectors who have come together to build infrastructure to combat the most threatening disease to attack mankind. We have focused our energies on strengthening an existing African institution by enhancing its capacity to train health care providers and to conduct research. Through integrating African and western models of care we are developing new models of HIV/AIDS care for the African population”, said Merle Sande, M.D., President of Academic Alliance Foundation.
Pat Christen, President of the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, commented, “Our organization brought basic project management skills and played a key role in ensuring that the vision of the partners was turned into sustainable reality on the ground at the IDI. Pfizer's willingness to provide sufficient and flexible private sector funding throughout this project was essential to its success.”
Construction of the IDI has benefited the local economy through its emphasis on local procurement of resources and professional skills. A workplace safety program implemented during the construction resulted in an exceptional safety record with no reportable accidents over almost 300,000 person hours of construction.