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July 2, 2007

De Beers African Health Scholars Named

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has named the 2007–2008 De Beers African Health Scholars. The program aims to strengthen Africa’s public health infrastructure by training African leaders to improve the health system.

James Ignas, MD

James Ignas, MD, is a Tanzanian researcher currently working on child malnutrition and pneumonia with the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust. By completing his Master of Public Health studies at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Ignas hopes to acquire more skills to help prevent disease on a population level throughout Africa with a focus on malaria, malnutrition and HIV/AIDS.

Mpho Sadie Mogodi, MBChB

Mpho Sadie Mogodi, MBChB, a medical officer with the Botswana U.S.A. Project Gaborone, provides technical assistance to the Care and Treatment Section of the Global AIDS Program of the Government of Botswana. The program is supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In 2002, she participated in an Internet-based clinical vaccine trial training at the Bloomberg School. Mogodi plans to gain practical public health skills to address multiple health issues in Botswana, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, cancer, hypertension and diabetes.

“Many of the serious health problems that plague Africa are preventable, but common treatments often do not reach those in need of help due to poverty and inadequate health systems,” said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “The De Beers African Health Scholars Program trains leaders to return to Africa to advance public health.”

“De Beers strongly believes that we have a responsibility to ensure that the communities and countries in which we live and work benefit from the diamonds we mine, which is why we are so gratified to partner with Johns Hopkins to sponsor the De Beers African Health Scholars,” said Rosalind Kainyah, director of public affairs for De Beers USA. “De Beers has a close connection with both Botswana and Tanzania, and is proud to support Dr. Mogodi and Dr. Ignas as they strengthen the public health systems in their countries.”

The De Beers African Health Scholars program provides full tuition and a stipend for living expenses and transportation for two African graduate students each year to earn their master of public health (MPH) degrees. Scholars participate in a practicum experience on a major health problem in Africa, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria or malnutrition. After completing their studies, the students return to Africa to apply the skills they have learned.

For more information on the De Beers African Health Scholars program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, visit www.jhsph.edu/debeers.

The De Beers African Health Scholars program is part of the company’s overall commitment to the empowerment of Africa, economically, ethically and socially, particularly to the fight against HIV/AIDS. De Beers currently funds 16 AIDS-related projects in Africa, including hospice and community care programs; child and orphan care; income-generating initiatives and research projects; and, significantly, free antiretroviral treatment for employees and their spouses or life partners.

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Kenna L. Lowe or Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.