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A newly formed entity, The Business Leadership Council for a Generation Born HIV Free, met here January 9 with a delegation of six United States Senators, the US Ambassador to South Africa, a broad array of leading business executives, and South African Government leadership to highlight recent advances fighting AIDS and to pledge a collective determination to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV by the last day of 2015.
“We need the power of the private sector, working together with governments around the world, to get this done in 48 months,” said John Megrue, CEO of Apax Partners US, and Chairman of the Business Leadership Council, a newly-formed group of business leaders that will be launched during the World Economic Forum in Davos later this month. “It is unacceptable that 360,000 children were born with HIV last year around the world.”
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina led the congressional delegation, and was joined by Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, Sen. Kay Hagen of North Carolina, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina.
In South Africa, the efforts are being led by the Government of South Africa with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and from UNAIDS and from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the world’s leading financing institution dedicated to supporting large-scale prevention, treatment and care for these three diseases, and other partners.
The Global Fund, which has already committed over US$22 billion worldwide, is a unique public-private partnership in global health that has proven highly effective. “Thanks to strong government leadership, South Africa has made dramatic strides toward ending mother to child transmission of this virus,” said Mr. Megrue.
“In business, we take deadlines seriously, and work to ensure they are achieved,” said Natie Kirsh, CEO of Jetro. “This effort must be no different, and we as business leaders commit to bringing our expertise and resources to the table in this 48 month race.”
Mr. Kirsh was joined by several of South Africa’s most prominent figures and business leaders, including Executive Mayor Alderman Patricia de Lille, Deputy Minister of Health Gwendolyn Ramakgopa, former President F.W. De Klerk, singer-songwriter and HIV/AIDS-activist Annie Lennox, Bridgette Radebe, founder of Mmakau Mining, Andrea Kerzner, Founder of the Lalela Project, Brian Brink, Medical Director ofAnglo American and Christo Wiese, Chairman of Pepkor & Shoprite SA.
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