23 July 2009
President Jacob Zuma and British entrepreneur Richard Branson have met to discuss a possible partnership between Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of Branson’s Virgin Group, and the government to establish a Disease Control Hub in South Africa.
Branson, Zuma, Planning Minister Trevor Manuel and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi met at the Union Buildings in Pretoria this week.
‘Unique public-private partnership’
The Presidency said in a statement that the initiative would be a unique public-private partnership to tackle priority diseases such as HIV/Aids, TB and diabetes in the country and the southern African region.
It will also help ensure that existing health initiatives were better integrated and supported.
“Health is a key priority for government, and the Disease Control Hub is an innovative and needed resource to help strengthen our health system and health information,” Zuma said, praising Branson for contributing to the initiative.
Saving ‘millions of lives’
Branson said that by delivering better data and helping to scale responses more quickly, the initiative would play an important role in transforming South Africa’s health sector.
“The Disease Control Hub is a critical initiative to help stop needless suffering from diseases such as TB, Aids, and other health conditions that have needlessly killed large numbers of people and hampered the growth of this incredible country,” he said.
“We are pleased to be working closely with the South African government, and would like to call out to other business leaders, foundations and international bodies to join us in this partnership that will ultimately help save millions of lives.”
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