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Nelson Mandela Presents 2002 Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights


This year’s Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights has been awarded to two South African AIDS researchers, Dr. Glenda Gray and Professor James McIntyre, both of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the University of Witwatersrand at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Dr. Gray and Professor McIntyre, who have long standing clinical and research interest in HIV/AIDS in women and children, have played a central role in efforts to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in South Africa. This year’s Award was presented by former South African President, Mr. Nelson Mandela.

Speaking at the Awards ceremony in Cape Town, Mr. Nelson Mandela said it was “beyond doubt and argument” that giving drugs to pregnant women to save their babies from being born with the HIV virus must be central to the fight against AIDS. Mr. Mandela added that the Award recipients’ work “emphasises the centrality of fighting mother-to-child transmission in HIV prevention strategies… (which) we accept to be beyond argument and doubt.”

Dr. Glenda Gray and Professor James McIntyre are co-founders and co-directors of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, the largest hospital in the world. The Unit, which is situated in Soweto and which serves a population of over three million people, was founded in response to the expanding HIV epidemic.

The Perinatal HIV Research Unit is one of the world’s leading centers of excellence for research and implementation activities in the field of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and has been at the forefront of work in this field. The Unit has collaborated with the World Health Organisation and other international bodies on several clinical trials on HIV transmission (including the PETRA study) and the clinical management of HIV positive women. Responding to the changing needs around HIV/AIDS, the Unit has expanded to undertake work in antiretroviral treatment for adults and children, psychosocial support issues, HIV and tuberculosis and HIV vaccine trials.

The Mandela Award was established in 1992 by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation at the behest of Mr. Nelson Mandela, and is given annually in recognition of extraordinary dedication and achievement in improving the health of the disadvantaged populations in South Africa and the United States. Recipients are selected annually by a committee appointed by Mr. Mandela in conjunction with the Foundation.


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