With some 18 000 delegates attending the 21st International AIDS conference in Durban this week, it was great to see the trucking industry represented via the Imperial Group’s participation as both sponsor and exhibitor.
The main message Imperial was getting across was for all to work together in improving and facilitating healthcare across Africa – with accent being on the importance of a reliable and efficient supply chain to facilitate progress.
“It is vitally important for the private sector to work in partnership with governments and international donor funds to ensure that every patient in Africa has access to the medication and healthcare facilities they require,” said Dr Iain Barton, Imperial’s Group Business Development Executive for Healthcare.
Imperial accordingly welcomed the news that US$410-million (R587,5-million) has been donated through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to help end the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. PEPFAR also supports projects in South Africa to reduce new HIV infections in girls and young women.
Imperial delivers life-saving medicine to HIV/AIDS programmes in 30 countries – including Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa – and is focused on helping African countries improve their healthcare supply chains.
By working alongside health ministries, donor organisations and the pharmaceutical industry, Imperial gets medicines to the people who need them, when they need them. “Ensuring a secure and sustainable supply of medications and diagnostic tests is literally a matter of life and death,” says Barton, “and is a responsibility we take very seriously.”
Imperial also deploys infrastructure critical to healthcare delivery – such as the first world class pharmaceutical warehousing facilities of their kind in East and West Africa. The group’s innovative Clinic-in-a-Box™ solution also allows for the rapid deployment and commissioning of much needed clinics. These prefabricated structures can be erected within a day and contain all the components necessary to deliver a total primary healthcare service to remote and needy communities.
Through its Unjani Clinic initiative, Imperial is the first private sector player to start a primary healthcare network run and owned by professional nurses. “Unjani represents Imperial’s response to the overburdened public health sector in South Africa and has resulted in the establishment of 25 clinics owned by professional female nurses,” Barton explains, adding that to date, the clinics have delivered healthcare services to more than 145 000 people.
The biennial International AIDS Conference is a premier global gathering where science, leadership, policymakers, business and community meet to advance all facets of the collective efforts to treat and prevent HIV. “It also represents a tremendous opportunity to showcase the progress South Africa has made in implementing and funding evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions,” said Barton.