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Monday, 11 September 2023

The initiative aligns with government’s Checka Impilo campaign in partnership with the South African Business Coalition on Health and AIDS

AfroCentric and De Beers have partnered to fund wellness screenings of about 25 000 community members in the labour sending areas surrounding Venetia Mine, in Vhembe and Capricorn districts in Limpopo. The initiative supports government’s Checka Impilo campaign – an accelerated national wellness campaign that focuses on testing and treating people with HIV, TB, STIs and non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

In collaboration with the South African Business Coalition on Health and AIDS (SABCOHA), the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), and the Private Sector Forum (PSF), the two companies hosted a Community Wellness Day at the Musina Showgrounds today to provide vital healthcare services and wellness screenings to vulnerable employees, contractors, and community members.

AfroCentric and De Beers commenced with screenings in January of 2023, completing 24 000 screenings by June 2023. The remaining 1000 screenings were administered at today’s event, where the Minister of Health Dr. Joe Phaahla and other senior government and private sector executives were in attendance to witness the wellness screenings in action and receive a report back on the outcomes of the campaign.

Speaking at the Wellness event, Minister of Health Dr. Joe Phaahla, said: “The department appreciates the efforts by the SANAC Private Sector Forum and South African Business Coalition on Health and AIDS (SABCOHA) for their role in coordinating the private sector to play an important role in the country's response to HIV/AIDS and TB. 

“We hope this self-funded De Beers/AfroCentric partnership initiative will encourage other private sector companies to follow in the footsteps of these leading companies to promote healthy lifestyles amongst their workforce and communities in which they have operations," said Dr. Phaahla.

De Beers Venetia Mine Senior General Manager, Ntokozo Ngema said: “As De Beers Group, we are committed to enabling access to world-class healthcare for our employees and community members through our Building Forever sustainability framework pillar ‘Partnering for Thriving Communities’. We recognise that it is only through firm commitment and a shared resolve between government, private sector and civil society, that we can endeavour to make meaningful strides in the fight against the quadruple burden of disease that is prevalent in South Africa. This collaborative approach will enable the Department of Health to reach communities that would otherwise not have easy access to free comprehensive health services. We are proud to be part of this journey with all the partners involved.”

AfroCentric CEO Designate Gerald van Wyk said:  "We are incredibly proud as an organisation in healthcare to be aligned with government priorities through the National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs, not only that, but we’ve also established strength in numbers by additionally partnering with other private sector organisations to work towards our national and international health goals. This is the power of public private partnerships in motion - mobilizing communities to take back their health and hopefully inspiring other businesses to join towards realizing the 95-95-95 goal.”

SABCOHA, acting as the secretariat for the SANAC Private Sector Forum, facilitates co-funding partnerships governed through its Community Fund. These partnerships are cross-cutting, spanning various sectors such as health, education, social development, transport, and agriculture.

Both private sector entities contributed over R4 million towards the screening campaign which included Wellness Screening access points in the following identified areas, HIV counselling and testing, TB screening, STI screening, blood pressure checks, glucose testing, BMI assessments, and vision screening

Applauding the private sector for this initiative, SANAC CEO Dr. Thembisile Xulu said, “We applaud the Private Sector for their substantial contribution towards the national Cheka Impilo effort. Our challenge as a country, is the second 95 of the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets, we have a treatment gap of around 2 million people who should be on treatment but are not. Projects such as this one are critical in assisting South Africa to close that treatment gap. On behalf of SANAC, we welcome this initiative and encourage other private sector role players to join the partnership and implement similar interventions in their constituencies,” said Dr. Xulu.

The campaign went further to develop and train micro-enterprises through a BizAIDS Programme, which aims to provide training to micro-enterprises supporting the execution of the screening campaign.

The Health and Wellness Campaign aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the health objectives outlined in the National Development Plan, and the National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB (2017-2022) and (2023-2028).

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