In September, Mr. Tumaini Chambua and Rev. Joas Mpinda visited Iowa from Tanzania. They are both leaders in ETI’s Palliative Care Program in Tanzania, and were here because of some significant changes in the direction the program will be going in 2012-2013. They met with Phil Latessa, Sheri Krumm, and Dr. Jeff Carithers for several days to make plans for how expected changes will impact the project over the next 12 months. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was begun in 2003 with the goal of helping to save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world. PEPFAR funding has enabled Empower Tanzania Inc. to provide palliative care and home-based care services to Tanzanians who are severely ill or dying from AIDS for over five years.
The PEPFAR program is the largest effort ever to combat a single disease and it has had great success. Ten years ago only 400,000 people in developing countries were receiving drug therapy but now over 8 million people in poor countries are being treated. In addition, current combination drug therapy is much more effective than medications available in the past. The cost for HIV/AIDS drug therapy inclusive of medical services is now down to a remarkable $200 per patient per year according to recent Clinton Foundation research. Treatment is now reaching 56% of the sub-Saharan population that needs it. This leaves the other 44% who need to be identified and treated but those receiving treatment are gaining weight, gaining vigor and living. The much improved situation for those receiving treatment has lead to most patients working at resuming their lives to again become productive citizens in their societies. This leads to a new role for ETI. In addition to providing home comfort care for those dying of AIDS, the new goals will also:
Include new emphasis on "train the trainer" projects. We will conduct training this year that will teach people to be effective teachers of health improvement programs, and increase sustainability of the program. Help people who are recovering from HIV to improve health through better nutrition, sanitation and clean water. Because they are taking the antiretroviral drugs, good nutrition is more important than ever, as it increases the effectiveness of the drugs. Help people start businesses that generate income for their families. These economic strengthening projects will be developed in collaboration with Pare Diocese and will teach people how to start and how to manage a business. Together with Pare Diocese we will seek start-up funds for these Tanzanian entrepreneurs.
During their stay, Mr. Chambua and Rev Mpinda made many official visits to organizations in Iowa specializing in areas related to our project, and attended the Empower Tanzania Board of Directors Meeting which was held at the new World Food Prize Building in Des Moines. This included a tour of the building, which was fascinating!
Mr. Chambua and Rev Mpinda also spent a lot of time in home stays, getting to know families and enjoying the experience of Iowa life in the summer time. It even included some fishing lessons with Dave Krumm, and the successful landing of an Iowa bass.