Mogae honours his partner in the fight against HIV

07 Jun 2006

President Festus Mogae has honoured the outgoing Chairman of Merk and Co. Mr. Raymond Gilmartin for contributions, service and leadership in global health.

Mr. Gilmartin and his company have contributed immensely towards Botswana’s fight against HIV/AIDS.

Speaking in New York at the event to honour Mr. Gilmartin, President Mogae an event to honour the man would not be complete without Botswana as an invitee.

“May I be so audacious as to suggest that the invitation list to an event honouring Mr. Raymond Gilmartin, for his contributions, service and leadership in global health and corporate citizenship would not have been complete without Botswana!” said Mogae.

“I believe I speak on behalf of many who had the honour and privilege of working with Mr. Gilmartin when I say that he is a man of visionary and exemplary leadership, a hands-on man, and a practical man of action,” said Mogae while paying tribute to Gilmartin.

“He leads from the front. He focuses on the success of the mission. He is also a field marshal who is ready to go into the field to assess the challenges first hand.”

Together with President Festus Mogae Gilmartin performed a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of an orphan day care centre - House of Hope In Palapye, before going to Serowe to officially open an HIV/AIDS Resource Centre.

“In both instances, there was no international television and news media coverage. We were only surrounded by orphans and villagers covered only by local media,” said President Mogae.
Mogae observed that today, both projects are some of many projects that the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP) supports. The two projects are a symbol of hope for a better life and another small victory in a comprehensive programme to combat HIV and help orphaned children.

Gilmartin was also credited for playing a pivotal role in establishing African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership (ACHAP) which is a vital framework for the ongoing commitment and partnership to work with the Government of Botswana in responding, in a comprehensive manner, to the challenge of HIV/AIDS.

“We see ACHAP as a unique public-private partnership between the Merck Company Foundation/Merck and Co. Inc., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Government of Botswana. I place emphasis on comprehensive, because this is a partnership that is sharply focused on prevention, treatment, care and support,” said Mogae

Mogae said if Botswana’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic stands as a beacon of hope and provides lessons to the global community, it is due in large part, to partnerships such as ACHAP and the leadership of individuals of the calibre of Mr. Raymond Gilmartin.

He said though political commitment and proper policies are necessary first steps, establishing the right partnerships and mobilizing adequate resources are also a must in reversing the course of the epidemic.

“ACHAP is, undoubtedly, a good model for mobilizing resources from the private sector to the public sector. In this regard, this partnership demonstrates the complementary roles each partner can play within one nationally agreed response framework. It demonstrates the value of unity of purpose, harmony and mutual respect,” the president said.