In 1996, children in Romania were dying from pediatric HIV infection at the time when new drugs - highly active antiretroviral treatment - were revolutionizing treatment of HIV/AIDS in the Western world. Texas Children’s Hospital was leading the way as one of the first to start treating pediatric HIV. Dr. Mark Kline visited Romania to assess this crisis. This trip led him to believe that children around the world should have access to the same type of care and treatment that they receive in Houston. 

With initial support from Houston’s Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Abbott Fund and AmeriCares, the first center of excellence (COE) in the BIPAI network was created in Romania in 2001. Deaths among children with HIV declined from 15% to 1% and provided the first proof of concept for providing large-scale HIV treatment to children in a limited resource setting. 

With funding through Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Secure the Future program, the Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical COE opened in 2003 and treated 1,200 children that year. The model proved to be a success and garnered attention from other governments, leading to Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda dedicating six new centers in five years.

The Texas Children’s Global Health Corps was formed in 2006, initially as the Pediatric AIDS Corps, to provide pediatric specialists to treat patients and build the capacity of local healthcare workers at BIPAI network sites. With nearly 200 physicians deployed since inception, the Global Health Corps supported BIPAI’s expansion beyond HIV treatment and enabled trainings and capacity building efforts impacting more than 100,000 healthcare workers in limited resource settings in Africa, Latin America and Romania.

This global child health network provides a framework for some of the best maternal and child health specialists in the world to share best practices and resources in care and treatment, medical education, and clinical and operational research focused on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, malnutrition, neglected tropical diseases and other conditions impacting the health and well-being of children and families worldwide