Gerberding Praises Botswana's Work

Dr. Gerberding dances with members
Dr. Gerberding dances with members
of BOTUSA choir.

Gerberding addresses staff at BOTUSA
Gerberding addresses staff at BOTUSA.

GABORONE - Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), made her first visit to Botswana in October to meet with local CDC management, staff and partners on Botswana public health priorities.

During her one-day visit, she met with management and staff of BOTUSA, the 12-year-old partnership between the Government of Botswana and the CDC. BOTUSA employs more than 180 people and comprises three branches, including TB/HIV Research, HIV Prevention Research and the Global AIDS Program. The agency is also the main implementing partner for the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Botswana, which committed more than $76 million (or P471 million) to Botswana in fiscal year 2007.

Dr. Michael Thigpin, Associate Director of HIV Prevention Research at BOTUSA
Dr. Michael Thigpin, Associate Director of HIV Prevention Research at BOTUSA, makes a poster presentation to Dr. Gerberding on the on-going TDF-2 clinical trial. She also heard presentations from the TB/HIV Research section and the Global AIDS Program at BOTUSA.

In remarks, Dr. Gerberding emphasized that the work being done by BOTUSA staff will go a long way in preventing the further spread of HIV and TB in Botswana and around the world.

"You are serving as vanguards for the rest of the world in your work," she told the staff. "What you do here we will advertise to the rest of the world as a best practices in prevention."

She also toured the Tebelopele Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center, a nongovernmental organization that is fully supported by PEPFAR and receives technical support from BOTUSA. She also met with U.S. Ambassador Katherine Canavan, and informally with Botswana government officials and other CDC partners.

Dr. Gerberding flew to Botswana on Friday, Oct. 12, following a two-day meeting of top CDC management, including all of the 17 CDC Country Directors in 17 African countries, in Pretoria, South Africa. She was accompanied on her trip by William H. Gimson, the Chief Operating Officer at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Dr. Kenneth G. Castro, Director of TB Elimination (DTBE) at CDC and Assistant Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Service; Dr. Eugene McCray, Chief of International Research and Programs Branch of DTBE; and Alison Kelly, Strategy and Innovation Officer for the Coordinating Office for Global Health at CDC.

Dr. Gerberding hugs a member of the Youth Against AIDS (YAA) project at Tebeleopele VCT Center
Dr. Gerberding hugs a member of the Youth Against AIDS (YAA) project at Tebeleopele VCT Center during her oneday visit to Botswana. The YAA program promotes behavior change in youth by encouraging them to access on-going counseling services.

Dr. Gerberding, who was recently named 23rd on the Forbes Magazine list of the 100 most powerful women of 2006, has been Director of the CDC since July 2002. As Director, she oversees approximately 10,000 staff both domestic and international, and an annual expenditure of about $10 billion.

Before assuming her post, Dr. Gerberding served as Acting Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, where she played a major role in leading CDC's response to the anthrax bioterrorism events of 2001.