Mining Conglomerate Anglo American Announces $4.35 Million for HIV/AIDS Community Partnership Project
Mining conglomerate Anglo American, one of the first companies in South Africa to provide antiretroviral drugs to its employees, on Monday announced $4.35 million in funding for a community partnership project to accelerate the provision of comprehensive HIV/AIDS care and prevention services in government clinics in the six South African provinces where the company has business units, the Financial Times reports. The three-year initiative, which is believed to be the first large effort by a South African company to extend employee HIV/AIDS programs to surrounding communities, will help fund the National Adolescent Friendly Clinic Initiative, a partnership between loveLife and the South African government (Reed, Financial Times, 10/7). LoveLife -- South Africa's national HIV prevention program for youth -- combines a sustained, high-intensity, multimedia education and awareness campaign with countrywide efforts to establish adolescent-friendly services in government clinics and a national network of community level outreach and support for youth. LoveLife is organized under the auspices of a national advisory board of leading South Africans and is implemented through a consortium of South African public health organizations in partnership with the South African government and a countrywide coalition of more than 100 locally based youth-serving organizations. LoveLife receives support from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Anglo American, the South African Government and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (loveLife Web site, 10/7).
LoveLife has "successfully piloted the adolescent-friendly approach" to HIV prevention and care in more than 60 clinics, Dr. Brian Brink, senior vice president of Anglo American, said. The company plans to build on the NAFCI program, expanding the number of government clinics offering comprehensive HIV/AIDS services to 200 clinics in the next 18 months and to 900 clinics in the next three years, Brink said (South African Press Association, 10/6). The Global Fund, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation will also assist in the scaling up of the NAFCI program (Financial Times, 10/7). Anglo American will also work with partners to help build the capacity of public health care clinics in an effort to enhance the overall response of the health sector at the community level, Brink said (South African Press Association, 10/6).
"The next frontier in the effort to establish a comprehensive national AIDS management program is to ensure community-level access to the full range of services required to effectively prevent the further spread of HIV and to provide treatment and care for those already infected in community-friendly settings," Anglo American CEO Tony Trahar said, adding, "A major goal of this initiative is to destigmatize AIDS-related services by ensuring a community-friendly environment in public clinics" (Agence France-Presse, 10/6). Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund, said that the Anglo American project is "an exciting example of how the [Global Fund's] investment can help leverage in-country partnerships and resources," adding, "The initiative will provide a strong model in Africa of a nationwide effort to establish comprehensive HIV/AIDS services." The South African government's recent commitment to starting a national antiretroviral treatment program and the efforts of Anglo American and nongovernmental organizations have made NAFCI possible, Feachem said (South African Press Association, 10/6).
An interview by Health-e Editor Sue Valentine with Treatment Action Campaign Chair Zackie Achmat, who recently announced that he will begin taking antiretroviral drugs because the government has agreed to provide the drugs through the public health system, is available online.