“Max and his people have changed the lives—saved the lives—of so many people. Anybody here who’s in a position to support the Harvard AIDS Initiative, I can think of no greater cause, no worthier cause, than that.”
Alexander McCall Smith, best-selling author of The Ladies No.1 Detective Agency Series, at a benefit reading for HAI at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge.
Watch below a slide show of McCall Smith’s visit:
McCall Smith (standing) had lunch with HAI researchers, students and supporters.
During lunch, McCall Smith talked with HSPH doctoral student Kelesitse Phiri. Kele is from Mochudi, Botswana, also the hometown of Precious Ramotswe, protagonist of McCall Smith’s beloved series, “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency”.
Max Essex, Chair of HAI, with McCall Smith. The two met in Botswana years ago and became friends. McCall Smith dedicated the previous No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency book to Essex for his work on HIV/AIDS in Botswana.
George Seage, Thelma Zelen, Alexander McCall Smith, Tianxi Cai
Chris Rowley and Elizabeth Russell
Max Essex introduced McCall Smith at an evening reading at the Brattle Theatre to support HAI.
Not every man can pull off a kilt, but McCall Smith, who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, did so with panache. To a packed house, he read from “The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection”, the 13th book in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.
The reading was co-sponsored by the Harvard Bookstore
After the reading, Mitchell Dong and Robin LaFoley Dong, both HAI International Advisory Council members, graciously hosted a dinner at their Cambridge home.
Amy Wu, a recent Harvard graduate, spoke briefly about her semester abroad conducting research at the Botswana Harvard Partnership (BHP).
Mitchell Dong and HSPH grad student Anusha Vable
Alexander McCall Smith thanked the dinner hosts and guests and praised the work of the Harvard AIDS Initiative in Botswana and southern Africa.
Julio Frenk, (center at head of group) Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), visited Tanzania and Botswana in February 2011, accompanied by David Hunter, Dean for Academic Affairs, and a number of distinguished visitors.
In Tanzania, the first stop on the trip, the group visited the Amtulabhal Clinic and Mnazi Mmoja Center in Dar es Salaam.
A doctor counsels a mother and her child at a clinic in Dar es Salaam.
The delegation received an overview of the Harvard-Tanzania Collaboration at the offices of the Management and Development for Health and the Africa Academy of Public Health. Front row: Katie Vogelheim, Dr. Deborah Rose, Michael Walsh. Second row: Howard Cox, Susan Butler Plum, Dr. Lilian Cheung, Nancy Lukitsh.
Irene Danilovitch, Prof. David Hunter and Ambassador John Danilovitch at a dinner at the Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski.
Susan Blutler Plum, Dr. Lee Chin, Dr. Lilian Cheung and Sebalda Leshabari, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences
The HSPH delegation at a dinner with the President of Tanzania. Dean Julio Frenk is in the center of the front row with President Jakaya Kikwete to the left.
Prof. Wafaie Fawzi, who leads HSPH’s efforts in Tanzania, addressed the audience and the press at a ceremony to celebrate the building of a new HIV clinic and training center in Dar es Salaam.
Dean Julio Frenk (far left) shakes hands with Hon. Hadji Mponda, Tanzania’s Minister of Health, at the dedication of the new center.
Next stop, Botswana, to see the work of the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP). On the afternoon of their arrival, the group toured downtown Gaborone and attended a session of Parliament.
At a Welcome Dinner at the Gaborone Sun Hotel, the HSPH delegation meets the staff of the Botswana-Harvard Partnership. Nancy Lukitsh (left) talks with Erik van Widenfelt (center) from the BHP and Dr. Tianxi Cai (right), an HSPH biostatistician.
Prof. Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative, welcomes Dean Frenk and guests to Botswana.
Susan Butler Plum and Dr. Joseph Makhema, Director of the Botswana-Harvard Partnership, listen to a presentation about the BHP’s success in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Dean Julio Frenk talks with elders of the village of Mochudi, where the Harvard AIDS Initiative is conducting a community-wide HIV prevention project.
The HSPH delegation, BHP staff and elders of Mochudi gather at the kgotia, the public meeting place of a Botswana village.
A doctor and her young patient share a smile at the Mochudi clinic.
BHP leaders and staff at the Mochudi clinic enjoyed a light moment. Several BHP studies in HIV prevention are conducted at the clinic, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, infant circumcision, and the community-wide Mochudi Prevention Project.
Back in Gaborone, the group visited the BHP headquarters and laboratory on the grounds of Princess Marina Hospital.
During afternoon presentations on the BHP’s work on treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, Dr. Lee Chin and Katie Vogelheim examined a tool used for safe infant circumcision.
Prof. Max Essex and others involved with the Botswana-Harvard Partnership enjoyed the sunset before dinner at Phakalane Resort in Gaborone. From left to right: Onalenna Nthase, Dr. Rebeca Plank, Dr. Aida Asmelash, Prof. Max Essex, Dr. Shahin Lockman and Dr. Marina Anderson. Drs. Lockman and Anderson both have MHPs from the Harvard School of Public Health.
At dinner, Prof. Richard Marlink, Executive Director of the Harvard AIDS Initiative, thanked Dean Frenk and others for travelling so far to see the work of the Botswana-Harvard Partnership.
As the delegation tours Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone, dr. Mompati Mmalane, Deputy Director of the BHP and a former Superintendent of the hospital, provides context for how the nation as a whole has responded to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Botswana has the second highest prevalence of HIV in the World.
The HSPH delegation at Princess Marina Hospital.
After a morning spent touring clinics and meeting with patients enrolled in BHP clinical trials, the group enjoyed lunch at a garden restaurant in Gaborone.
Dean Julio Frenk and Nancy Lukitsh at the restaurant
On their last night in Botswana, the group visited Mokolodi Nature reserve for a sunset game drive.
A young impala scrutinized the visitors.
After wildlife sightings, the group enjoyed a braai, a traditional Botswana barbeque. Left to right: Dr. Lee Chin, Dr. Andrew Logan, Dr. Deborah Rose, Michael Walsh, and Mokolodi staff member.
From left to right, Dr. Joseph Makhema, Dr. Andrew Logan and Howard Cox point out constellations in the night sky, including the Southern Cross, only visible from the southern hemisphere.