Food, clothing and education for AIDS orphans in Malawi
European Coalition of Positive People and Roche partner in innovative support programme
Basel, 1 December 2005, On today’s World AIDS Day, the European Coalition of Positive People (ECPP), a London based international non-profit organisation, and Roche announced that their partnership has given hope for a better future to 3,000 orphans in Malawi suffering from the devastating consequences of HIV/AIDS. By taking part in a sponsored walk, Roche employees around the world are raising funds to support initiatives in Malawi to build and sustain orphan centres where children receive food, clothing and the chance of education and vocational training. Roche matched all funds raised by its employees. Around 10,000 Roche employees at almost 90 sites participated today in the third Roche Employee AIDS Walk.
“The support by Roche and its employees has made a significant impact to AIDS orphans in Malawi. Through our partnership with Roche we were able to make a difference to the orphans’ lives and to pave the way for a better future”, said Colin Webb, Director of the ECPP.
As in previous years, some of the employees participating in the Global Roche Employee AIDS Walk 2005 will be travelling to Malawi next year to see for themselves how the funds are being used. Ruhee Majid from Roche Pakistan, who travelled to Malawi with colleagues in April of this year to visit orphan centres, commented: “During the Global Roche Employee AIDS Walk I was deeply impressed by how willing my colleagues from all over the world were to help. In Malawi I was then able to see the immense value that our support has for the orphans and their carers. I would like to pass on the thanks we received from them in Malawi to all my colleagues. I am already looking forward to being able to help by participating again this year. By taking part in this event we are directly helping those who need our help most.”
About HIV/AIDS and Malawi
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Sub-Saharan Africa is by far the worst affected area, with over 25 million people currently living with the disease. In Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, it is estimated that 15 percent of the 11 million inhabitants are infected with HIV. The virus caused over 80,000 deaths in 2003. Over half a million children in Malawi have lost one or both parents to AIDS. As orphans, they are often excluded from education and vocational training because of their poverty.
About the Roche Employee AIDS Walk
The first Roche Employee AIDS Walk took place in 2003 as a pilot project involving three large sites. Immensely successful in its first year, the event was subsequently extended to include all Roche sites. Since 2003 some 9,300 Roche employees have taken part in the annual walk, collecting a total sum of CHF 1.5 million for children impacted by AIDS worldwide.
About Roche in the developing countries
Roche is committed to finding healthcare solutions that are sustainable and have a long-term impact, particularly on the lives of those living in developing countries. No patents for any of Roche medicines – across all disease areas – will be filed in the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as defined by the UN. Roche will not file patents on new HIV/AIDS medicines in Least Developed Countries or sub-Saharan Africa. Roche will not take action in these countries against the sale or manufacture of generic versions of HIV medicines for which Roche still holds patents. Generic versions of such HIV medicines can therefore be produced in LDCs and sub-Saharan Africa without the need for a voluntary or compulsory licence. Roche makes its HIV protease inhibitors Invirase and Viracept available at no profit prices for direct supplies from Roche Basel to LDCs and sub-Saharan Africa. Totally, Roche has reduced pricing for these HIV protease inhibitor medicines available for 93% of all people living with HIV/AIDS in the world.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world’s leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of innovative products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people’s health and quality of life. Roche is a world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of medicines for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. Roche employs roughly 65,000 people in 150 countries and has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai. Additional information about the Roche Group is available on the Internet (www.roche.com).
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