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TASO opens sh1.2b centre in Mbarara

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd November 2005 03:00 AM

The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO), with support from Pfizer Inc, opened a new AIDS counselling and training centre in Mbarara recently to serve some of the 50,000 clients.

The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO), with support from Pfizer Inc, opened a new AIDS counselling and training centre in Mbarara recently to serve some of the 50,000 clients.

By Maurice Okore
The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO), with support from Pfizer Inc, opened a new AIDS counselling and training centre in Mbarara recently to serve some of the 50,000 clients.

The US$700,000 (sh1.2b) centre, also funded by Pfizer, the world’s largest research based pharmaceutical company, is the second of four TASO regional facilities to be upgraded.

In addition to scaling up ARV therapy to 1,000 patients in Mbarara, the centre also hosts a laboratory that supports clients from two other centres in the region. TASO is the largest NGO providing HIV/AIDS services to people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda and in the region.

According to a press release, Dr. Alex Coutinho, the Executive Director of TASO, thanked Pfizer for helping TASO achieve some of its most important goals. This was at the ceremony to open the centre.

“We are delighted that our partnership with Pfizer has once again expanded TASO’s ability to provide care and support for our clients. The centre will not only benefit the people of TASO, but also strengthen the infrastructure and ability to help more communities in Uganda and the region,” Coutinho said.

The facility will also boost our capacity, increasing patient medical sessions to 50,000 and counselling sessions to 15,000 — up 60%.

Pfizer chairman and chief executive officer, Hank McKinnell said, “It is an honour and a privilege for Pfizer to be associated with TASO. Our first joint effort with TASO was a new counselling and training service facility in Kampala.

“We didn’t hesitate for a moment to build on this valuable partnership when TASO approached us for Mbarara. When history looks back upon this ravaging disease, we would like to be among those that came forward to make a meaningful contribution.” 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 organisations in Uganda is approaching $40m.

To date, these funds have been used toward the construction of two new care facilities for TASO and the Infectious Diseases Institute on the grounds of the Makerere University.
Ends

TASO opens sh1.2b centre in Mbarara

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