Xstrata gains global recognition for HIV/AIDS community program in South Africa

Xstrata Coal South Africa has won a prestigious Business Excellence Award from the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (GBC). The GBC Award for Business Excellence in HIV/AIDS Expanded Community Initiatives recognises Xstrata Coal’s innovative public-private partnership which has strengthened local health services and extended HIV/AIDS and TB testing, counselling and treatment in two health districts of Mpumalanga province that have a population of over 1 million people.  Approximately one in four adults in the province is living with HIV.

The award will be presented to Xstrata at a gala awards dinner on June 9 in New York City.  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Mick Davis, Chief Executive, Xstrata will address the event, which is being held in conjunction with the United Nations 2008 High-Level Meeting on AIDS on June 10 and 11. 

Davis said: “I am delighted that the Global Business Coalition has recognised Xstrata Coal’s initiatives to respond to HIV/AIDS and TB and support the communities in which we operate in South Africa with a Business Excellence Award.  As Xstrata Coal’s groundbreaking public-private partnership demonstrates, through collaboration, business, government, communities and others can combine resources and leverage each other’s strengths to counter the HIV and TB pandemics far more effectively than any one participant could achieve alone. ”

The award recognises the collaborative partnership that Xstrata Coal and its implementing partner Re-Action have established with the Mpumalanga Department of Health and Social Services, district health authorities and community-based groups, including traditional healers. The partnership includes co-investment from the US President’s Emergency Fund for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), which matches funding provided by Xstrata. 

Through the partnership, Xstrata is working closely with government, community-based organisations, PEPFAR and others to upgrade infrastructure at primary care clinics and four of the Province’s hospitals; facilitate the recruitment and retention of health workers in these government facilities; and enable community members to access antiretroviral treatment at their local primary care clinics, including through two Xstrata-sponsored health clinics.

Peter Freyberg, Xstrata Coal Chief Executive commented: “We are very proud to be part of a partnership that is responding to the significant issue of HIV/AIDS and TB in South Africa with speed and determination. The success of our programme depends on the commitment and co-operation of each of our partners, and I extend my thanks to the provincial and district health authorities, Re-Action, PEPFAR and communities who are working with us to stop the spread of HIV and TB.  We expect to welcome other companies working in South Africa to join our partnership in the near future, to strengthen health services and extend access to HIV testing, counselling and treatment to additional communities.”

“We’ve reached a critical moment in the struggle against global epidemics, and are poised to move from merely fighting to winning,” said John Tedstrom, Executive Director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.  “We congratulate Xstrata, which has shown the world how companies can deliver remarkable improvements in the health and well-being of the workforce and the broader community.   Businesses like Xstrata possess the skills, resources and influence to achieve otherwise inconceivable outcomes.  We need many, many more to make their own contribution.”

Xstrata Coal’s HIV/AIDS workplace and community programs have been recognised by the annual GBC awards three times in the past four years, winning the Business Excellence Award for voluntary counselling and testing in 2006 and gaining a commendation in 2005.