When President Bush announced his $15 billion initiative to combat AIDS worldwide, it was hard to imagine any of that money finding its way to Santa Rosa. But it has.

More than that, it is now part of a feel-good story concerning a small Santa Rosa software company that once gave away its technology to help a war-torn African country.

As Staff Writer Carol Benfell reported on Tuesday, Comp Pro Med, Inc. - a company with a staff of five - has won a $250,000 contract with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide its technology to help medical labs in Ethiopia. Its software records an HIV/AIDS patient's progress from initial testing through treatment and will allow the CDC to create a reliable database of patients.

The best part of this story is that five years ago, the company's CEO, Jeff Fisher, donated his system to a nonprofit group, Pathologists Overseas, for use in Eritrea. He did it because the country needed it but was too poor to pay for it. Said Fisher, "They needed an information system to help put their medical system back together ..."

If the Ethiopian contract works out, the CDC contract calls for using Comp Pro Med's system in 14 other countries. It seems to us, pharmaceutical companies could learn from this Santa Rosa company's winning business ethic.