Ceres, Western Cape: Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Stephen Saad, Aspen Group Chief Executive started the grueling inaugural 240km Aspen Trans Karoo mountain bike challenge together earlier today to enhance healthcare for children in South Africa.
Stephen said, “Raising funds for paediatric healthcare facilities through the Sifiso Nxasana Paediatric Trust for the Children of Africa (“the Trust”) has been the primary motivator for participating in this race. We are delighted that Dr Motosaledi has embraced our vision to provide enhanced access to quality healthcare for all children – irrespective of their socio-economic background.”
Dr Motsoaledi supports the urgent need for public-private partnerships in addressing the shortage of paediatric healthcare. “The challenges confronting us are huge and government alone cannot adequately address them. We are glad that Aspen has identified this gap and are sharing our vision of ensuring that all children, regardless of their socio-economic status have access to quality paediatric care in our country”, said the health Minister.
Saad has been calling on organisations that have an interest in Africa to support this worthy cause through sponsorship or donations. “The children of Africa need the support of large organisations. The response to this initiative has been encouraging and we hope to make a meaningful contribution to our two primary beneficiaries, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Children’s Hospital.”
Africa presently has 4 specialist paediatric facilities to care for some 450 million children with the only local facility being the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. In contrast, there are 23 children’s hospitals in Canada, 19 in Australia and 20 in Germany.
The Trust was established to support the Long Ride for Sifiso Campaign following the untimely passing of Sifiso Nxasana, son of Judy Dlamini and her husband Sizwe Nxasana, CEO FirstRand Ltd. Judy is the Chairman of Aspen.
Judy and Sizwe were in attendance together with their extended families to pay tribute to Sifiso and to encourage the 220 cyclists who set off in pleasant conditions on the 240 km challenge from Ezelfontein in Ceres to Sutherland in the Western Cape.
Judy said that it was a fitting opportunity to demonstrate support for the establishment and enhancement of paediatric healthcare for Southern Africa’s children.
Former President Nelson Mandela’s living legacy is to build a state-of-the-art children’s hospital that will provide paediatric care for all children across Africa. The Kwa-Zulu Natal Children’s Hospital is also being re-established to provide for the regional healthcare needs of approximately 3 million children.
To support the Trust, download and complete the Sifiso Nxasana Long Ride Campaign pledge form on www.transkaroomtb.co.za.