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State's public health director leads delegation to West Africa          Send a link to a friend

[JULY 29, 2006]  CHICAGO -- Dr. Eric Whitaker, state public health director, is in the Republic of Liberia on a trip to provide assistance implementing a program to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. The Illinois program to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission is one of the best models in the nation.

The trip is the second part of an assistance effort in West Africa. Earlier this year, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich welcomed Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during her visit in Illinois and presented her with a gift of 25,000 HIV tests for pregnant women in her AIDS-ravaged country. The gift and this upcoming trip are part of the governor's Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS initiative, which aims to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in African and African-American communities in Illinois and around the world.


  • Dr. Eric Whitaker, director, Illinois Department of Public Health

  • Dr. Andre Rawls, HIV/AIDS section chief, Illinois Department of Public Health

  • Shannon Lightner, governor's office representative

  • Karen Pendergrass, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing supervisor, Illinois Department of Public Health

[to top of second column]

  • Rev. Cedric McCay, Trinity United Church of Christ

  • Rev. Robert Klonowski, Evangelical Lutheran Church.

  • Dr. Mildred Williamson, Cook County Bureau of Health

What: BASUAH program -- During the nine-day trip, delegates will get a firsthand look at the devastating impact the AIDS epidemic is having on the Republic of Liberia. The delegation will conduct an assessment and work with the Liberian government and other stakeholders to draft a plan regarding the country's continued process for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Where: Republic of Liberia, West Africa

When: July 27-Aug. 4

[Illinois Department of Public Health news release]


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