$138M Award to Combat HIV/AIDS in Africa

December 6, 2016    |  

The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has received more than $138 million in multiple five-year grants awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat HIV/AIDS in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Nigeria.

IHV concurrently announced the formation of the IHV Center for International Health, Education, & Biosecurity (CIHEB), and its newly appointed director, Deus Bazira Mubangizi, DrPH, MBA, MPH, assistant professor of medicine, director, Center for Health, Education, & Biosecurity, Institute of Human Virology. CIHEB, in addition to the significant new funding, is the culmination of more than a decade of designing and implementing successful global health programs through unparalleled leadership and a talented team who dedicate their lives to ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

"Since 2004, the IHV has been awarded close to an astonishing $926 million from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program initiated by President George W. Bush and continued by President Barack Obama," said Robert C. Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, co-founder and director of IHV, who is most widely known for his co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS, and for the development of the HIV blood test. Gallo is also co-founder and scientific director of the Global Virus Network (GVN).

IHV's CIHEB team in Nigeria

IHV's CIHEB team in Nigeria

"It goes without saying that the establishment of our Center for International Health, Education, & Biosecurity is long overdue," said Gallo. "Dr. Mubangizi has led much of our recent PEPFAR program success, and I have no doubt he will continue to build upon the Institute's expertise and extend our reach in other regions of the world to end HIV/AIDS and related illnesses. I am proud of our faculty and staff who are committed to helping developing nations prevent and address infectious diseases, and build infrastructures that better protect humanity from biosecurity threats.

"Our global program's success is attributed to the bold vision of my colleagues and IHV co-founders, Dr. Robert Redfield and Dr. William Blattner, who is now retired," said Gallo. "They have led teams who dreamt big, achieved immense success including caring for well over 1 million individuals overseas, and pioneered programs that now serve as public health models worldwide. I congratulate both on the launch of this new and already prominent center."

"Building a team at the IHV that will continue to make a significant impact on global health through this new center is a great source of personal pride for me and all of my colleagues involved," said Redfield, MD, professor of medicine, co-founder, associate director, Division of Clinical Care and Research, IHV. "Seeing Dr. Mubangizi take the reins of our varying global programs ensures that the strong foundation that we laid since 2004 is just the beginning of the IHV's impact on international health, education, and biosecurity."

Mubangizi's research interests include diffusion of health innovations, interdependence between public-private health partnerships, private health insurance, health financing under decentralized systems, pharmaceutical regulation, hospital governance, and efficient models for delivery of primary care services in resource-limited settings. His experience comprises 10 countries from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

In his role as IHV's CIHEB director, Mubangizi will facilitate unique partnerships among academia, foreign governments, and community organizations to help developing nations learn how to diagnose, treat, and prevent their own AIDS and related epidemics.

"I look forward to building upon the work done over the past 12 years within the IHV's Division of Clinical Care and Research and Division of Epidemiology and Prevention to strengthen public health infrastructures overseas through strategic international, national, and local collaborations," said Mubangizi. "Through the design and implementation of our combined evidence-driven unique education, training, and treatment service delivery programs, we will better address each country's complex HIV/AIDS and other public health epidemics with an integrated approach that will extend into overall infectious disease protection."

Mubangizi continued: "The next era of our work will be built on a foundation of strong scientific evidence, leveraging technology in all its forms to improve efficiency and undertake key implementation science research that will ensure effectiveness of interventions across the three pillars of health, education, and biosecurity. Most importantly everything we do will start with the end in mind – promoting solutions that are homegrown and sustainable. Further, I hope to seek opportunities that will foster collaboration between the institute and other departments and schools at the University of Maryland, Baltimore with similar interests."

Over the past 12 years, the IHV has partnered with the governments of Botswana, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia to coordinate a global response to the AIDS pandemic.

CIHEB's new $138 million in PEPFAR funding will build upon IHV's existing programs, including $97.5 million awarded to the IHV in the previous 18 months to combat infectious disease in Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia. The new $138 million in grant funding includes the following:

  • $20 million to partner with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) to support the Kenyan Ministry of Health's efforts to strengthen interventions, program development, and policies regarding the country's public health practices related to non-infectious and infectious diseases in Kenya.
  • $35 million to collaborate with the Nairobi City Council and government of Kenya to provide technical assistance for the prevention, care, and treatment of HIV and infectious disease services within inner city Nairobi, and to support the growth of Kenya's first methadone treatment center through the expansion of services targeted at key populations and hard-to-reach groups.
  • $50 million to support the implementation and expansion of comprehensive, integrated, high-quality HIV prevention care and treatment services to the population of Kenya's Kisii and Migori counties through the establishment of effective and sustainable public health systems with accountability and oversight.
  • $12.5 million to support the expansion of effective, high-quality, sustainable, and comprehensive HIV prevention, care, and treatment services in 12 target regions of Tanzania that include 90 districts, local and national government authorities, as well as local partners and organizations.
  • $12.5 million to partner with the government of Zambia to develop and implement community interventions to end the transmission of HIV infection and to provide an infrastructure that facilitates linkage to care and sustained viral suppression.
  • $8 million to support the government of Nigeria in the development of a robust data quality assessment and improvement system and the implementation of an outcome evaluations program targeting HIV epidemic control; and, to study varying interventions to identify gaps in HIV health care driving significant loss of care among adolescents.