New York, NY – At the Heineken HIV/AIDS symposium held in Amsterdam, Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board/CEO Heineken N.V., announced that the Heineken Africa Foundation (HAF) has initiated three new projects focused on HIV/AIDS in communities where the company operates.
• PharmAccess African Studies to Evaluate Resistance (PASER), Nigeria – PASER is managed by the PharmAccess Foundation and is the largest coordinated effort in sub-Saharan Africa to monitor HIV drug resistance. Six African countries hosting 15 clinics, laboratories and research institutions are joined in a unique collaborative network to collect data on (emerging) HIV drug resistance. Currently, over 3,000 adults who receive antiretroviral treatment are being monitored. With Heineken’s funding Nigeria will now be added to this study, supporting the implementation of a monitoring program to assess the emergence of HIV drug resistance in both Nigerian adults and children who are receiving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy.
• Bonnes Routes!, Democratic Republic of Congo – This program will support two existing road wellness clinics in Lukala and Bukavu in Northern DRC. The clinics will provide curative and preventative health services to more than 25,000 employees of transportation companies and other community members each year. They will provide HIV prevention guidance and ultimately HIV treatment, as well as basic health care services. If successful, an expansion of the program’s scope will be considered.
• Project King’s Hope, South Africa – This is an ongoing project run by the King’s Hope Development Foundation. With the HAF funding, the foundation will be able to improve the accessibility of healthcare to HIV patients in the area of Olievenhoutbosch in the Gauteng Province, specifically palliative care.
Jean-François van Boxmeer commented: “These three new HIV/AIDS projects supported by the Heineken Africa Foundation will play a small but meaningful role in helping to continue the fight against the disease in Sub-Saharan Africa. They will help address the ongoing challenge of HIV/AIDS by increasing knowledge, extending preventive support and providing treatment to those who are suffering.”
Under the theme "Sharing Responsibilities in the 'World of Work' in Africa," the Heineken HIV/AIDS symposium brought together leading figures from national government, NGOs, the public health community and industry to take stock, challenge conventional thinking and stimulate new ideas. The symposium reflected on three key issues: access to medication, resistance to treatment and the gap in funding.
Heineken was particularly honored by the participation in the symposium of Mr. Ben Knapen, the Netherlands Minister for European Affairs and International Co-operation. In his keynote speech “A Government Perspective,” Mr. Knapen stressed the importance of initiatives such as the Heineken Africa Foundation:
“My government believes that public-private partnerships are an important tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Bringing together partners from both the public and private sectors creates the synergy and leverage we need in order to step up our efforts.”
Other expert speakers participating in the symposium were:
• Dr. Hedia Belhadj, Director, Partnerships Department, UNAIDS;
• Prof. Dr. Joep M.A. Lange, Department of Global Health, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development;
• Ms. Morolake Odetoyinbo, Board Member, The Global Fund; CEO, Positive Action for Treatment Access;
• Mr. Hugo Tempelman MD, MA, CEO Ndlovu Care Group, South Africa; visiting professor Utrecht University;
• Dr. Marijke Wijnroks, AIDS Ambassador, The Dutch Government.
In addition to Chairman/CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer, other Heineken employees presenting at the symposium were Tom de Man, Regional President Africa & Middle East, Hans van Mameren, General Manager Bralima, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Dr. Stefaan Van der Borght, Director Global Health Affairs.
On March 30, Dr. Van der Borght successfully defended his doctoral thesis “Making HIV programs work. The Heineken workplace program to prevent and treat HIV infection 2001 - 2010” at the University of Amsterdam.
The HIV/AIDS symposium is part of the “Heineken Cares” initiative, under the umbrella of the company's long-term sustainability approach “Brewing a Better Future”.