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July 13, 2007

More Than a Pretty Face: Dr. Anja Giphart

Dr. Anja Giphart, Country Director of the Elisabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
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Name: Dr. Anja Giphart
Age: 42
Job: Country director, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Location: Tanzania
Notable quote: "The worst days are when I see young people dying from a preventable disease."

Mention the AIDS crisis in Africa, and most Western doctors shake their heads over the 25 million people-including 2 million children-who are now infected. But where others see doom, Dutch-born Anja Giphart finds hope. As the head doctor for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in Tanzania, her motto is simple: one by one.

Q: You're a long way from home.
When I was in medical school, I got an internship in South Africa and traveled a lot throughout the continent. I knew I wanted to come back. In Holland, health care is accessible to everybody. If I practiced medicine back home, I'd be just another doctor. In Africa, I'm needed more. My skills can make a difference.

Q: How did you get interested in AIDS?
Part of it had to do with feeling frustrated by seeing all these severely ill adults and children infected with the disease — a disease that can be prevented. My job now is twofold: the care and treatment of HIV-positive kids, and heading up the mother-to-child transmission prevention program, so babies are not born infected.

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