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GBC Partnership with PEPFAR and PMI Highlighted During First Lady Laura Bushs Visit to Zambia

Submitted by: GBCHealth

Categories: Health & Wellness, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Jun 28, 2007 – 12:07 PM EST


Partnership provides 500,000 anti-malarial bed nets for distribution throughout country

Jun. 28 /CSRwire/ - NEW YORK, NY - June 28, 2007 - First Lady Laura Bush underscored the private sector's vital role in the fight against malaria during her visit to Zambia today, the latest stop in her four-nation tour of Africa.

Earlier this year, member companies of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (GBC), the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) created a public private partnership that financed the distribution of 500,000 insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) throughout Zambia. On the ground management of the initiative was provided by RAPIDS, a local NGO consortium.

On Thursday, Mrs. Bush was joined by her daughter Jenna Bush, Zambian first lady Maureen Mwanawasa and American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle at the Mututa Memorial Center in Lusaka for a site visit and briefing on the project. The four dignitaries participated in an assembly-line, preparing ITN care kits for distribution by volunteers for RAPIDS, which requested the nets for dissemination among HIV-infected and at-risk families.

The total cost for production, shipment and distribution of the ITNs was over $2.5 million, for which PEPFAR and PMI provided a $1.25 million challenge grant. GBC organized a generous group of private sector and individual donors to match the grant. These partners include: Abbott, Anglo American plc, BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.), Chevron Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company, Hedge Funds vs. Malaria, Helen Bader Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, JN-International, Inc. USA, Malaria No More, The Mercury Foundation, National Basketball Association (NBA), The Noel Group, Premier Medical Corporation, Qingdao Double Butterfly Group, Tata Iron & Steel Co., Ltd., Total and Vestergaard-Frandsen.

"Mrs. Bush's active engagement in the fight against malaria is helping to mobilize an entire generation of Americans to become involved in this effort," said Dr. John Tedstrom, Executive Director of GBC. "In highlighting this important project, she is helping to save lives, build economies and support Zambia's continued development. But our work is far from over - malaria is still a public health crisis. In the coming months we will continue to work with our members, governments and local partners like RAPIDS to maximize our joint potential to deliver real results."

According to Bruce Wilkinson, Chief of Party for RAPIDS, about 390,000 of the ITNs are already in Zambia, and one-third of them have been distributed to Zambia's nine provinces. The project addresses an urgent and solvable crisis situation in Zambia, a south-central African nation which is one of the hardest-hit malarial countries in the world. At least 40 percent of Zambia's childhood deaths are caused by malaria, and the average Zambian household experiences 2.4 cases of malaria each year.

"When we are done, as a direct result of this initiative, more than 11 percent of Zambia's entire population will be sleeping under bed nets," Wilkinson said. "This is crucial, because the recipients are the people who are the most vulnerable and susceptible to malaria because of their compromised immune systems."

About GBC

The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC) is an alliance of 220 international companies leading the business fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. GBC works to leverage the private sector's unique skills and expertise in the global response - including developing comprehensive workplace policies; supporting community programs; utilizing core competencies; facilitating leadership and advocacy by business leaders; and brokering public-private partnerships. The official focal point of the private sector delegation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, GBC maintains offices in New York, Paris, Johannesburg, Beijing, Geneva, Nairobi, Moscow, and Kyiv.

http://www.businessfightsaids.org/ / http://www.businessfightstb.org// http://www.businessfightsmalaria.org/

For more information, please contact:

David Stearns Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS TB and Malaria
Phone: +1-212-584-1633 (direct line)
Phone 2: +1-646-361-8058 (mobile)

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