The Coptic Hope Center for Infectious Diseases is a comprehensive Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) treatment facility jointly established by Coptic Mission and the University of Washington (UW) in Nairobi, Kenya and is funded by the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a US government initiative.
The Hope Center began as a small clinic in the Coptic Hospital in Kenya in early 2004, offering subsidized HIV clinical care and treatment. The clinic was the result of a nationally renowned low-cost antiretroviral (ARV) program which Coptic Mission has pioneered in 2002.
The Hope Clinic, as it was then known, was staffed by a team of four people, operated out of three offices and treated approximately five patients every day. By December 2004, the Hope Center had expanded into what it is today – a fully comprehensive and free HAART treatment facility. The Hope Center now manages medical care for over 25,000 clients, with over 16,000 on ARVs across Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania.
Treatment Literacy Program
In order to bring the services of the Hope Center outside the walls of the clinics, the mission launched the Treatment Literacy Program, an AIDS community treatment literacy program. The program goes beyond the traditional awareness campaigns, to an active program aimed at fighting AIDS-related stigmas by providing real options for life.
• In Nairobi’s industrial area, where the Hope Center is the only comprehensive AIDS/HIV clinic, the staff has already provided one day training, and Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) to over 800 workers from the factories.
• In Maseno, a rural village in western Kenya, the center has provided training to teachers and students in over 100 schools. Also, recognizing that community leaders hold the key to changing public perception of HIV/AIDS, the center has trained over 200 local chiefs and pastors.
• In Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, the center has trained over 1000 church leaders and over 400 school teachers resulting in a newly trained group of adult leaders eager to learn more, and implement what they have learned.
Children and HIV/AIDS
The center’s pediatric programs in Kenya and Zambia are designed to manage HIV/AIDS in children, and are run by pediatric specialists with experience in all disciplines, in order to cater to children-specific medical and psycho-social needs. The pediatric clinics are the only ones of their kind. In addition to medical care, the program implements a home tracer and care program, which assesses the child’s household stability, and the ability of the caregivers to provide for all the child’s needs.
Women and HIV/AIDS
In Africa, women are often the main household providers. Coptic Mission is committed to empowering women, who are particularly vulnerable to infection. To do this, the mission has developed a number of female-focused initiatives that aim to facilitate change in cultural perceptions that have historically limited their opportunities. By teaching women how to deliver home-based care, by training them to become HIV/AIDS community educators and by equipping them with the tools to deliver these community health services, Coptic Mission has witnessed the transformed image that women carry in their communities. Evidence has shown time and again that healthier, stronger women and mothers result in healthier, stronger families and ultimately healthier, stronger communities.
In many of the rural communities in Kenya, Zambia and the Congo, the mission has also established income-generating activities for women to be more empowered economically so that their livelihood will not be dependent on potentially unhealthy demands and/or conditions of the partners. Coptic Mission is committed to enabling the women of Africa fulfill their God-given potential.