Zackie Achmat gets international award

Zackie Achmat of the Aids advocacy group Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has been awarded the prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights by the Washington-based Global Health Council.

The awards ceremony takes place in Washington DC on Thursday, with the TAC’s women’s health co-ordinator Nonkosi Khumalo to accept the award on Achmat’s behalf.

According to the TAC’s national manager, Nathan Geffen, the award will be jointly awarded to Achmat and Dr Frenk Guni, the former director of the Zimbabwe Network of People Living with HIV/Aids.
The award carries prize money to the value of $20 000, half of which Achmat has donated to the TAC.

Geffen said the award meant that the international human rights community fully supported the work of the TAC and Achmat.

“The time for the South African government has come to see the TAC not as an enemy, but as a force for good in the country,” he said.

Among the plethora of awards Achmat and the TAC have won are included this year’s Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award, the 2003 Time magazine (Europe) award for one of the 25 heroes of the last decade, and the 2001 Desmond Tutu Leadership award.

According to the Global Health Council’s website, the award is given to nominees from a wide spectrum of health-related disciplines across the globe. Each nominee demonstrates a commitment to the principles of human dignity through promoting public health and health-related policies. Winners were chosen by a panel of international health and human rights leaders.

A press release from the council said that the Mann award was bestowed annually in honour of the late Dr Jonathan Mann, the first director of the World Health Organisation’s Global Programme on Aids. He and his wife perished on board a Swissair flight when it plunged into the Atlantic in 1998.

The presentation of the award will be made during the Global Health Council’s 30th annual international conference on the theme “Our future on Common Ground: Health and the Environment.”

The council is the world’s largest membership alliance dedicated to saving lives by improving health throughout the world. It serves thousands of public health professionals from 103 countries on six continents.  - Sapa

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