BMW opens community Aids clinic in South Africa

21st April 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 April 2005, PRETORIA - German automotive giant BMW on Thursday opened a community centre and HIV/Aids clinic in a South African township near its car manufacturing plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria.

21 April 2005

PRETORIA - German automotive giant BMW on Thursday opened a community centre and HIV/Aids clinic in a South African township near its car manufacturing plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria.

The facility will provide Aids education and counselling for local people and has the capacity to serve between 4,000 and 5,000 patients a month.

Around 17 percent of the car plant's 3,000 employees live in the township of about 700,000 people, according to BMW officials.

In the last five years the company has developed a model strategy to combat the spread of Aids and to manage the disease among its employees.

Voluntary HIV/Aids testing of 86 percent of workers at the Rosslyn plant showed that six percent of the company's local employees were infected with the disease, according to company doctor Natalie Mayet.

Many benefit from BMW's in-house Aids programme that provides on- site medical treatment, counselling and insurance for infected employees and their families.

In South Africa an estimated 5.3 million people are infected with the Aids virus. Few of the estimated 500,000 needing drugs that can stave off full-blown Aids have been reached through a state-run hospital programme.

Companies throughout the country are under increasing pressure to step in and help keep workers free from the virus and provide treatment for those who become infected.

"In this country one can't expect that government is doing everything alone. Many private initiatives bring the topic to the fore," commented BMW South Africa Group managing director Wolfgang Stadler.

DPA

Subject: German news

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