Microbicide Doc Wins Award

Dr Edwin Mapara

It all came as a shock and a very big surprise when Dr Edwin Mapara received the news that he had been awarded the “Physician Award” at the New York City Mwape Peer Awards 2011, on the 8th October 2011 for AIDucation and being a role model to peers. http://www.mwape.com/2011_Awards1.html

Simply lost for words! All he could say was, “Yebo!” Thank you!

Dr Mapara has dedicated the “Physician Award” to the grass roots people of Zambia, Botswana and England. Gratitude and acknowledgement is fitting for:

Livingstone, Zambia (1989 – 1990)

The people of Livingstone, Zambia, where HIV/AIDS Education (AIDucation) was born in 1989 using pictures and posters of people living with HIV infections and AIDS from Uganda. People wanted to “see” AIDS. “We showed them patients with AIDS, “ said Dr Mapara.

The Livingstone AIDS Awareness Project (LAAP) at the Livingstone Batoka Hospital was in the same league as the Copperbelt Health Education Programme (CHEP) and the Chikankata Salvation Army AIDS Programmes. AIDucation was used to reach schools, churches, workplaces, market places and the community centres.

Community Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) started quietly in the “Batoka Chest Clinic,” where he believed that, “It is better to know than not to know!”

Livingstone had the edge, Livingstone had 100 pictures. LAAP was a documented best practice.

Lobatse, Botswana (1990 – 2002)

The people of Lobatse in Botswana, where AIDucation was allowed to mature freely from 1990 – 2002. It was at Athlone Hospital where the “AIDucation House” became a national and international force with the following units highly active that made up the Athlone AIDS Awareness Programme (AAAP): The Information Education & Communication Unit (Foundation); The Counselling and Emotional Support Unit (Slab); The Clinical (Medical + Nursing) Care Unit (Wall); The Pastoral Care Unit (Wall); The Home based Care and Orphan Care Unit (Wall); The Research and Administration Unit (Wall); and The Integrated Training Unit composed of all the Unit leaders (Roof).

Lobatse had the edge,Lobatse had a library of 3,500 colour pictures. The AAAP was a documented best practice in 1992. AIDucation as a teaching strategy was a documented best practice intervention programme in 1994 and the Athlone Health Resource Centre (AHRC) was a documented best practice in 1999. Today, in 2011, there are more than 32 AHRCs set up using Dr Mapara’sAthlone Mother Model.

The icing on the cake in Botswana was in 2001 when Dr Edwin Mapara was head-hunted and appointed to lead the Clinical (Medical) Unit of the Botswana Anti-retroviral Therapy (ARV) Programme. A team of 10 “radicals” including Dr Edwin Mapara, advised the President of Botswana and the Minister of Health to give the ARVs Programme a chance in Botswana. This was after Western Consultants in the 1990s said that Africa could not provide ARVs to its people for various reasonsincluding, “…Africa is under-resourced…there are no doctors, nurses, pharmacist, social workers, counsellors…ARVs are a complicated science…!”

The President asked the 10 individuals around the table in the Cabinet Office the simple two worded question,  ”Can we?” The team individually answered, “Yes we can!” The rest is history as Botswana showed the world what a determined people can do! President Festus Mogae and Hon Minister of Health Joy Phumaphi trusted their African best brains and took the gamble. Today people from all over the world travel to Botswana and Uganda to learn how to provide ARVs to their people.

That was Dr Edwin Mapara’s last assignment in Africa, closing a chapter of 15 years of AIDucatingAfrican community members to prevent HIV infections and to care and support those living with HIV infections and AIDS. It was time to go and teach the Europeans.

London, England (2002 – 2011)

Dr Edwin Mapara re-located with the family – “brain drain” – that he would turn around into a “brain gain” for several countries. Within no time the Livingstone born AIDucation programme of 1989 had come of age in 2005 in England. It was a Public Health module on the Diploma in Tropical Medical & Hygiene (DTM & H) for medical doctors; the Diploma in Tropical Nursing (DTN) for nurses; and the Master of Science (MSc) and Master of Public Health (MPH) postgraduate degree courses for medical doctors and programme managers.

Reference books were written for the AIDucation students in the year 2010 by Dr Mapara:

  1. AIDucation 20-10 Taking Control of AIDS
  2. AIDucation 20-10 Taking Control of TB
  3. AIDucation 20-10 Taking Control of TB & AIDS

Meanwhile instead of joining the National Health Services (NHS) in England, Dr Mapara opted to work for a local African Charity where he could continue with the Livingstone born and Lobatse matured AIDucation programme. Within five years at Community Health Action Trust (CHAT) in the borough of Brent, in London, CHAT had three ‘best practice’ programmes under its belt:

  1. AIDucation intervention strategy,  in 2005
  2. The A-Z OF TUBERCULOSIS Poster OF 2005 that was even asked for by the New York City TB Programme and Centres for Diseases Control (CDC), Atlanta, America.
  3. The first Community based Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre (VCT) in the UK, in August 2007, documented in THE LONDON VCT PROJECT REPORT, published by the Medical Research Council (MRC) & Centre for Sexual Health & HIV Research, University College London (UCL).


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