June 10th, 2008

An Award-Winning Partnership with mothers2mothers

Last night I attended the Global Business Coalition’s (GBC) annual Awards for Business Excellence in New York where nine companies, including Johnson & Johnson, were recognized for their work in addressing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof – who writes extensively on his journeys to places most impacted by these diseases — served as the master of ceremonies, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon provided the keynote to an audience of high-ranking government officials and leaders from NGOs and the private sector.

As the evening unfolded and I learned more about what motivates people and organizations to do what they do to make REAL differences in this world, two things struck me. The first was to ask, “what more could I be doing to help?” And the second was to reflect on the collective impact that the nine honorees – and the nearly 20 other “commended” companies and dozens more NGOs – are having on the lives of so many people all over the world. Whether it’s providing insecticide-treated bed nets to children most at-risk of contracting malaria … or improving the speed and accuracy of TB diagnosis, especially for those with HIV … or preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, the work is far-reaching and life changing. No one organization, public or private, can do it alone, though.

Johnson & Johnson was recognized for work in HIV/AIDS philanthropy addressing the needs of women and girls and our partnership with mothers2mothers, in particular (learn more). Thousands of women and infants have been reached since our work began. Dr. Mitch Besser and Robin Smalley are co-founders of mothers2mothers, an NGO that provides education for South African HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the disease and trains new HIV-positive mothers to mentor others. Their work is truly extraordinary, and I’m humbled by what they do each and every day.

Though I’m obviously pleased to see our support for this initiative honored in this way, I’m even more pleased to see mothers2mothers, which has a meaningful impact on communities in South Africa, get the recognition that it so rightly deserves. For more on mothers2mothers, see my earlier post. And, if so moved, consider joining the cause to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV with mothers2mothers and others such as the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.


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