Texas Children's Hospital Commits Up to $5 Million in the Fight Against Pediatric AIDS in Africa

Texas Children's Hospital Pledges Up to $5 Million Through a 'Challenge Fund' in Support of International Outreach

Houston, Texas, UNITED STATES


HOUSTON, April 4, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Texas Children's Hospital President and CEO, Mark A. Wallace, today announced the hospital's commitment to donate up to $5 million in support of Dr. Mark Kline's Pediatric AIDS initiative in Africa. The funds will be distributed through a "Challenge Fund" to match philanthropic gifts pledged to Texas Children's for the initiative.

The Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) at Texas Children's Hospital is entering its 12th year of providing lifesaving treatment and education to children throughout the world hit hardest by the AIDS epidemic. The announcement took place at a luncheon highlighting the groundbreaking work of Dr. Mark W. Kline, chief of retrovirology at Texas Children's Hospital and a full-time Baylor College of Medicine faculty member.

Directly following the establishment of the Challenge Fund commitment from Texas Children's, a $2 million gift from the Abbott Fund and a $1 million gift from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation were announced. With the combination of these contributions and the match from the Texas Children's Challenge Fund, a total of $6 million was added to program in one afternoon.

"Words cannot describe the pride we have in being a part of this unparalleled initiative. Dr. Kline's tireless efforts have resulted in increased awareness of the AIDS pandemic in Africa, but moreover the initiative has saved countless lives and provided hope to an area of the world that seemed forgotten," said Wallace.

Under the guidance and leadership of Dr. Mark Kline, the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children's Hospital has grown from an initial pediatric AIDS clinic in Romania to six clinics throughout Africa, and has also trained and placed health professionals and treated a larger number of HIV-infected children than any other organization.

The care and education provided at the clinics has led to remarkable success and has become a model for reaching HIV-infected children and their families. The money pledged today, as well as potential future funding, will be used to:



   * Enhance and expand satellite facilities for HIV-infected children
   * Provide outreach to children in rural and semi-rural areas
   * Expand efforts to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV
   * Initiate voluntary hospital-based testing of children in order to
     provide proactive and appropriate treatment

Attending the luncheon with one of his patients and her family, Dr. Kline was amazed. "Today we have raised money that will help us not only grow our program, but allow us to investigate additional areas that may lead to the reduction, and ultimately, the eradication of this disease," Dr. Kline remarked. "I want to thank the Abbot Fund, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Texas Children's Hospital for stepping up to make a true difference in the health of children throughout the world."

According to Mark A. Wallace, "The work and goals of the AIDS Initiative align perfectly with the mission of Texas Children's in supporting a community of healthy children - whether that community be local, regional or international. Texas Children's recently launched a $1.5 billion expansion initiative, Vision 2010: Excellence to Eminence, which is focused on research advancements and expanding access to quality care for all children. The BIPAI program at Texas Children's Hospital is a true example of this endeavor and a model for excellence and eminence throughout the world."

To learn more about the BIPAI program, or to pledge a contribution to be matched by Texas Children's Hospital, please visit www.texaschildrenshospital.org or call 832-824-2107.

About BIPAI

The Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children's Hospital was established in 1996 to foster international HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment, health professional education, and clinical research. It has rapidly grown to become the largest university-based program worldwide dedicated to improving the health and lives of HIV-infected children. The mission of the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative and its affiliated non-government organizations in Romania, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi and Uganda is to conduct a program of high quality, high impact, highly ethical pediatric and family HIV/AIDS care and treatment, health professional training, and clinical research. To learn more, please visit www.bayloraids.org.

About Texas Children's Hospital

As one of the nation's largest pediatric hospitals, Texas Children's Hospital is renowned for its expertise and breakthrough development in the treatment of cancer, premature infants, cardiogenic disorders, diabetes, asthma, HIV/AIDS and neurological disorders. Since opening its doors in 1954, the Texas Children's Hospital Integrated Delivery System has cared for more than 1 million children from every corner of the world and now has more than 2 million patient encounters a year. Internationally recognized, the hospital is ranked in the top five among children's hospitals by both Child and U.S. News and World Report. For more information about Texas Children's Hospital, please visit www.texaschildrenshospital.org.

The Texas Children's Hospital logo is available at http://www.primenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3544.

About Abbott and Abbott Fund

For more than 20 years, Abbott has made a significant contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS through the development of innovative tests and medicines, including developing pediatric formulations for the treatment of children. Through Abbott Global AIDS Care programs, Abbott and Abbott Fund also are investing more than $100 million to advance HIV testing, treatment and support services in developing countries, including philanthropic programs targeting critical areas of need for children. Abbott Fund has partnered with BIPAI since 2000, supporting the pioneering pediatric clinic in Romania and opening the first pediatric clinic in Malawi in 2006. Abbott Fund and Baylor also partnered to establish the Baylor Children's Clinical Centers of Excellence Network to train health professionals and share best practices in HIV care. Abbott Fund is a philanthropic foundation established in 1951 by Abbott, the global health care company. Abbott Fund invests in creative ideas that promote science, expand health care and strengthen communities worldwide. For more information on Abbott Fund, visit www.abbottfund.org. Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at www.abbott.com.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb and Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation

In 1999, Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation developed SECURE THE FUTURE, a public-private collaboration to help alleviate the HIV/AIDS crisis among women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Since then, the company has committed $150 million to more than 200 programs in 11 countries that provide medical care and research, community outreach and education and infrastructure. Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global pharmaceutical and related health care products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life. To learn more, please visit www.bms.com.


        

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