Providing healthcare for vulnerable populations in Benin
The prevention of mother-to-child transmission was one of my workhorses so that children born to infected mothers do not inherit this disease, aggravating the vicious circle of poverty.”Setondji Tonoukouen, 2014 Fellowship Alumnus, Benin
World AIDS Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, a cause that Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni across the continent are passionate about. 2014 Fellowship Alumnus Setondji Tonoukouen of Benin has dedicated his career to supporting the health of vulnerable citizens, including people living with HIV.
Setondji was selected for the Fellowship while serving as manager of the regional HIV/AIDs Control Program with seven years of experience working on Benin’s STI/HIV/AIDS Control Program. He previously worked on the Prevention Mother to Child HIV/AIDS Transmission (PMTCT) program.
He was drawn to this work by his “willingness to help people with a disease whose remedies were not available to everyone, compounded by its stigma.” He says, “The prevention of mother-to-child transmission was one of my workhorses so that children born to infected mothers do not inherit this disease, aggravating the vicious circle of poverty.”
Upon completion of the Fellowship, Setondji was appointed Benin’s National Director of the Department of HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care.
Setondji says of his Fellowship, “It improved my leadership, my working organization, and team leading.”
During his time working in Benin’s health system, Setondji contributed to the reduction of mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission in Benin and scaled up HIV care by implementing a framework for health system strengthening to achieve universal health coverage.
Today, he is the Benin country director for the non-governmental organization Results for Development, supporting the African Collaborative for Health Financing Solutions’ (ACS) aims to bolster the capacity of countries to move toward universal health coverage.
He says, “My professional plan is oriented towards the most vulnerable, starting from the HIV patients previously and the poorest currently.”
Written by Abbie Wade.