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New HIV/AIDS Care Center—Big Boost for the AIDS Support Organization (TASO) and Uganda Infrastructure


Pfizer/TASO Partnership to Improve Training, Counseling, Treatment and Care for Thousands Living with HIV/AIDS

MBARARA, UGANDA, October 14 -- The AIDS Support Organization (TASO), with support from Pfizer Inc, opened a new AIDS counseling and training center here today that will play an important role in serving part of the organization’s 50,000 registered HIV/AIDS patients.

The new $700,000 TASO center, half of which was funded by Pfizer, is the second of four TASO regional facilities to be upgraded. In addition to scaling up ARV therapy to 1000 patients in Mbarara, the center also hosts a CD4 count laboratory that supports clients from two other centers in the region. TASO is the largest indigenous non-government organization providing HIV/AIDS services to people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda and in the region.

Speaking at the dedication ceremony, Dr. Alex Coutinho, Executive Director of TASO, said, “We are delighted that our partnership with Pfizer has once again expanded TASO’s ability to provide care and support for people living with and affected by AIDS. The Mbarara center will not only benefit the people of TASO, but strengthen the infrastructure and ability to help more communities in Uganda and the region. The new facility in Mbarara will boost our capacity by 100%, increasing patient medical sessions to 50,000 in 2006 and counseling sessions to 15,000—up 60%.”

“It is an honor and a privilege for Pfizer to be associated with TASO. Our first joint effort with TASO—a new counseling and training service facility in Kampala—was a remarkable success. We didn’t hesitate for a moment to build on this valuable partnership when TASO approached us for Mbarara,” said Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hank McKinnell. “When history looks back upon this ravaging disease, we’d like to be among those that came forward to make a meaningful contribution”, he added.

Pfizer began working with TASO, Makerere University and the Academic Alliance in 2001 to respond to a shortage of HIV/AIDS care facilities in Uganda. Consistent with its objective to enhance system capacity to serve the needs of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, Pfizer and the Pfizer Foundation’s contribution to organizations in Uganda is approaching $40 million USD. To date these funds have been used toward the construction of two new care facilities for TASO and the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) on the grounds of the Makerere University in Kampala.


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