Anglo American and Virgin Unite present Frontline Heroes for Health award to rural community health centre, Bhubezi
Cynthia Carroll, Chief Executive of Anglo American, and Sir Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group, presented the inaugural Frontline Heroes for Health award at the 10th Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Awards Dinner, in New York.
The co-sponsored award recognises leadership in community healthcare and was this year presented to Kgomotso Kwenje and Dr Gilbert Khosa who co-manage the Bhubezi Community Health Centre in South Africa. Kgomotso and Gilbert both returned to their rural home town in South Africa after completing their studies with the intention of boosting the standard of healthcare in their community.
Bhubezi Community Health Centre, located in Bushbuckridge Mpumalanga, South Africa, is the result of collaboration between the community, government and business. Supported by USAID / PEPFAR (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), the South African Department of Health, Ndlovu Care Group, Anglo American and Virgin Unite, Bhubezi Community Health Centre is the first to offer basic and specialised healthcare in the region. Since its establishment in 2007 it has received more than 130,000 patients and provided more than 3,500 HIV positive patients with anti-retroviral treatment.
“We are honoured to receive the inaugural Frontline Heroes for Health award and would like to thank our supporting partners - USAID / PEPFAR, South African Department of Health, Ndlovu Care Group, Anglo American and Virgin Unite. We hope that this global recognition will encourage many more partnerships like ours,” Kgomotso Kwenje said.
“More than 130,000 patients have been treated at our health centre and this has revolutionised the way our community understands the concept of healthcare. Importantly, HIV positive patients now recognise that anti-retroviral treatment can drastically improve their quality of life. We look forward to continuing our work to ensure all healthcare facilities receive anti-retroviral treatment,” Dr Gilbert Khosa said.
Cynthia Carroll, Chief Executive, Anglo American, commented: “Anglo American is delighted to recognise the achievements of the Bhubezi Community Health Centre at this year’s Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria awards dinner. Its success emphasises the power of effective collaboration between business, the community and government to strengthen healthcare systems. We remain committed to fostering deep partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders so that we can continue to drive positive outcomes in health and we acknowledge that this demands a coordinated response.”
Dr Brian Brink, Chief Medical Officer, Anglo American, and based in South Africa, commented: “Anglo American acknowledges that improving the social and economic prosperity of communities rests with improving healthcare. Building on the success of partnerships like Bhubezi Community Health Centre will be critical as we continue to improve our response to long-standing healthcare issues and particularly women’s health and rights, because women and girls remain particularly vulnerable to HIV infection.”
Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Group of Companies, commented: “Gilbert and Kgomotso both realised that local people would have to step up to the plate in the fight against the twin scourge of HIV and TB and we commend them for their tireless commitment. For Anglo American and Virgin Unite, we feel the true spirit and passion comes from the frontline heroes who are at the heart and soul of so many of our efforts in supporting and uplifting communities around the world. It’s a joy for Virgin Unite to be part of the Bhubezi Community Health Centre partnership.”
Melinda Wilson, Division Leader for HIV Care and Treatment, USAID South Africa commented: “We are happy that the recipients of this award are part of our program in South Africa and that USAID and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has been a part of this effective public-private partnership.” Anglo American is a platinum sponsor of the 10th Anniversary GBC Health Conference and Awards Dinner. The GBC brings together more than 500 business executives, policy makers, thought leaders and celebrities to discuss the corporate response to global health challenges.
A video of Bhubezi Community Health Centre is available at www.angloamerican.com
For further information:
Further information about Anglo American’s health programmes
• In 2002, Anglo American was the first major employer to begin offering free antiretroviral treatment to all its employees and, in December 2008, Anglo American extended this benefit to employees’ direct dependants. This decision was based largely on the understanding that HIV/AIDS cannot be effectively managed when only one family member receives care for a disease that affects the whole family.
• Anglo American’s world-leading HIV/AIDS response, providing the largest free HIV and AIDS workplace and voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) programme, has been held up as best practice by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
• Anglo American’s recent progress was rewarded by the Global Business Coalition (GBC) on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at the organisation’s Business Excellence Awards in June 2009, where the company’s Thermal Coal business was recognised as having the best HIV/AIDS workplace programme in the world.
• The GBC Awards are earned by companies that have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, action and results, and have achieved exceptional success in putting their assets to work in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
• Anglo American’s 2009 international employee HIV/AIDS campaign detailed the company’s response in the areas of eliminating the stigma and discrimination related to the disease. The programme also focuses on preventing new infections, the provision of care and confidential support for employees and their dependants
infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and managing and mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS on operations.
In so doing, Anglo American is making a positive contribution towards minimising the social, economic and
developmental consequences of the epidemic.
• Workplace programmes are in place at all Group operations and business units, with activity particularly focused in southern Africa, where HIV prevalence figures are estimated at 18% of the region’s workforce.
• Anglo American’s Thermal Coal business received the top award in the ’Workplace Category’ for its holistic approach to HIV/AIDS and was commended by the judges for “its comprehensive, robust and evidence based approach to managing HIV and AIDS in the workplace; coupled with the outstanding leadership and commitment of the company’s management and leadership team"
• Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases is one of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and 2010 represents an important milestone in the progress of this initiative.
Notes to editors:
Anglo American plc is one of the world’s largest mining companies, is headquartered in the UK and listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges. Anglo American’s portfolio of mining businesses spans precious metals and minerals – in which it is a global leader in both platinum and diamonds; base metals – copper and nickel; and bulk commodities – iron ore, metallurgical coal and thermal coal. Anglo American is committed to the highest standards of safety and responsibility across all its businesses and geographies and to making a sustainable difference in the development of the communities around its operations. The company’s mining operations and extensive pipeline of growth projects are located in southern Africa, South America, Australia, North America and Asia.
About Virgin Unite:
Virgin Unite is the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group. We unite people to tackle tough social and environmental problems in an entrepreneurial way. Our aim is to help revolutionize the way business, governments and the social sector work together – driving business as a force for good. This is based on the belief that this is the only way we can tackle the scale and urgency of the challenges facing the world today. Virgin Unite’s overheads are covered by Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, meaning that 100% of additional donations received go direct to the frontline where they are needed most. For more information please visit www.virginunite.com. Follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/virginunite. Join the movement on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Virgin-Unite
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