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CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: June 1, 1999

UI, Iowa City to share HIV/AIDS expertise with visitors from Botswana

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Five health care workers from the south central African country of Botswana are visiting the University of Iowa and Iowa City June 2-5 to learn what different health care workers, physicians and social workers are doing in HIV and AIDS research, education, outreach, prevention and intervention programs.

The Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) is hosting the Iowa City portion of the group’s trip to the United States. AIDS cases have increased dramatically in Botswana over the last decade. According to a United Nations health report, 25 percent of the population in Botswana has the HIV virus--creating a major challenge for health care workers in this developing nation.

Members of the group include: Samson Setumo, information, education and counseling coordinator with HIV/AIDS Programs "Youth Matters Botswana," a non-governmental organization (NGO) dealing with youth matters; Koketso Rantona, project coordinator for the Women and AIDS Project, Botswana Council of Women (CB), a local NGO; Lubumbo Mazhani, a nurse/HIV/AIDS counselor with Botswana Red Cross Society; Arthur Matshameko, peer education training counselor dealing with youth reproductive health, AIDS/STDs and alcohol and drugs education; and Oteng M. Kebitseope, home-based care nurse, Holy Cross hospice, in Gaborone, Botswana.

Dr. Ian Smith, CIVIC board member and UI professor emeritus of infectious diseases, has arranged for the group to meet with some of the following:

Jeanne Bock, of the Health Services Research Center, UI Hospitals and Clinics, to discuss the six-state AIDS consortium called the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center (MATEC); Kris Davis with the Department of Nursing and Chris Waters with the Department of Social Services, to attend a conference on the Viral Disease Clinic, a clinic for HIV and AIDS patients; Dr. Michael Loeffelholz at the University Hygienic Laboratory, to discuss diagnostic methods of HIV infection and their field use, especially under low budget limitations; Dr. L. Vaughan Kirchhoff, International Medicine, who is one of 20 physicians at UIHC who cares for AIDS patients; and Laura Hill, director of ICARE, a United Way supported agency which supplies resources and education for AIDS patients, companions and families. The group will also meet with other health care workers, and HIV positive patients.

CIVIC is a community organization of volunteers serving and hosting international visitors as a means to promote international understanding on a person-to-person basis. It is one of two such organizations in Iowa that accommodates the U.S. Information Agency’s International Visitor Program (IVP). IVP is a professional exchange program administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Information Agency

Interviews with the visitors can be arranged, and they all speak fluent or proficient English. For more information or a complete itinerary, call Tom Baldridge, CIVIC executive director, at (319) 335-0351 or Ian Smith at (319) 356-2727.