Botswana, Baylor College of Medicine renew partnership

Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Botswana renewed their longstanding partnership last week during a visit from the president of the Republic of Botswana to Houston and the College.

Baylor helped establish the first medical school in Botswana in 2006, but the relationship with Botswana began earlier with the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital. Botswana was identified as the location for the first BIPAI clinic in sub-Saharan Africa in 2000. A repurposed building in the first years was replaced by the Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence in 2003.

The Centre provides care and treatment for HIV-infected children and families from around Botswana. At that time, the country had the highest rates of HIV in the world and no medical school to train physicians to provide care to these patients and many others. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is a partner in supporting the Centre.

Last week’s visit renewed the commitment between the two institutions with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, which includes an exchange of learners, researchers and members of the academic staff as well as the establishment of sub-specialty fellowships in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Botswana that will train pediatricians. The memorandum also includes the collaboration on research activities of mutual interest as well as jointly developed and delivered curricula.

“We acknowledge the partnership that has been going on for a strong 20 years where thousands of children have been treated thanks to your professional expertise and the partnership that’s been built with Baylor, Texas Children’s Hospital and Bristol-Myers Squibb along with the government of Botswana,” said His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, president of the Republic of Botswana. “I want to thank you for the integrity of your partnership consistent with the values you hold.”

“This alliance between Baylor and the University of Botswana will facilitate and enable academic programs and the students at both institutions to collaborate in education, scholarly work, research and professional activities with a goal to create an international profile for various activities,” said Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO and executive dean of Baylor College of Medicine. “This is one of our longest global affiliations, and we take pride in all that we have accomplished. There is no doubt that Baylor College of Medicine and the people of Botswana will continue to benefit from this agreement.”

As part of the visit to Houston, the delegation toured the vaccine labs at Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and met with Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace and other leaders.

“The long-anticipated renewal of our agreement with the University of Botswana School of Medicine will allow Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital to expand and enhance our capacity in building future Botswana leaders in innovation, medicine and research,” said Michael Mizwa, BIPAI CEO.

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