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Photograph by Lynn Johnson
How to Help
October 2007
Infectious Animals: How to Help
For Vango

"It's hard to imagine how remote the Democratic Republic of the Congo is," says Anne Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at UCLA and a pioneer in monkeypox research. To combat zoonotic diseases like monkeypox, Rimoin has spent many months in the central Lomela region. In a nation about a quarter the size of the U.S., there are few miles of paved roads, "and not a single one where I work," says Rimoin. There also isn't much of a social support network. One of her research sites is Vango, a village that relies on its parish nuns and priests for schooling and basic medical care. Rimoin relies on them as well to gather data about health issues. But these Good Samaritans need help. From 1998 to 2002, Rwandan soldiers overran Vango. Most villagers fled to the forest. The soldiers tainted the parish's well, burned its truck, and stole anything they could, including the convent roof. Support doesn't easily reach such distant spots, so Rimoin set up a nonprofit, Congo BioMed, to promote local biomedical research and training, and to deliver aid. Contributions to Congo BioMed may be sent in care of Anne Rimoin at:

UCLA School of Public Health
650 Charles E. Young Drive South
CHS 71-279B, Box 177220
Los Angeles, California 90095-1772