Stephen Saad raises funds for children’s hospitals

17/04/12:

Durban: South African pharmaceutical social entrepreneur, Stephen Saad, has embarked on a personal initiative to help raise funds for paediatric healthcare facilities in South Africa.

Stephen Saad said, “I fully embrace the social obligation to raise funds for the healthcare needs of underprivileged children and I’m calling on all organisations that have an interest in Africa, to support this worthy cause through sponsorship or a donation. The Sifiso Nxasana Paediatric Trust for the Children of Africa (“the Trust”) has been established for this purpose. On April 28, I’ll be cycling in the grueling 24 hour – 240km Trans Karoo mountain bike challenge from Ceres to Sutherland to help raise funds for the establishment and enhancement of children’s hospitals.”

Stephen’s motivation to do the challenge is based on his belief that all children deserve quality care and as a dedication to the sad and untimely passing of Sifiso Nxasana. Sifiso was the son of Judy Dlamini and her husband Sizwe Nxasana, CEO FirstRand Ltd.

Saad’s Long Ride for Sifiso Campaign, which will raise funds for the Trust, has been welcomed and endorsed by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who said “Every effort must be made to ensure that future generations are provided with healthcare facilities that meet their needs – irrespective of their economic or social background. This Trust will demonstrate the support of local and international businesses alike towards caring for children who have previously not had access to specialist medical services. It is hoped this is the start of a closer co-operation between the public and private sectors in order to drive improved healthcare for all.”

There is a desperate need for quality pediatric healthcare in South Africa. Presently there are only 4 specialist paediatric facilities in Africa to care for some 450 million children. The only local facility is the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. This is a shocking comparison to the 23 children’s hospitals in Canada, 19 in Australia and 20 in Germany.

Two beneficiaries have provisionally been earmarked for the Trust, namely the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and the KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital.

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.

The Trust aims to:

  • Make a meaningful contribution in addressing paediatric public healthcare needs, particularly for children from historically disadvantaged or resource constrained backgrounds.
  • Improve access and affordability to paediatric care, particularly in those areas that requires specialist paediatric care.
  • Ensure sustainability and appropriate resourcing of these facilities.
  • Develop adequate management capacity and human resourcing in these facilities.
  • Contribute to the overall strengthening of the South African Public Healthcare system.
  • Provide hope to those children, who would otherwise have limited or no prospect of survival.

Saad’s philanthropic spirit concerning the healthcare needs of the people of Africa can be traced back to the start of the century, when he convinced multinational pharmaceutical companies to release the patents held on anti-retroviral (ARV) medication in order to provide affordable treatment to the millions of HIV/Aids patients on the African continent. Saad succeeded in his pioneering endeavor, and in 2003 Aspen launched the first generic ARV to provide hope to those suffering from this disease. Currently some 900 000 patients across Africa take an Aspen ARV daily.

To support the Trust, download and complete the Sifiso Nxasana Long Ride Campaign pledge form on www.transkaroomtb.co.za.