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Nelson Mandela called on the world to “make poverty history” and “to do more in the fight against AIDS by also fighting TB”. Poverty and TB are inextricably linked. In the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “TB is the child of poverty, but also its parent and provider”.

I have just returned from the United Nations General Assembly Special meeting on TB in New York, where Heads of State committed to providing political leadership and to increase domestic funding to scale up effective interventions and to conduct research to end the TB epidemic. The UN declaration to “end TB” requires that countries align these activities to the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty. We are therefore at a unique time in history where we have the means to end both poverty and TB and HIV. Aurum, now more than ever, has an opportunity to fulfil our vision of improving the health of the poor by intensifying our fight against TB and HIV.

In our battle against TB and HIV this year, we have experienced many challenges across a broad front. Despite the many ongoing challenges, I remain optimistic that together we will meet our targets and contribute to ending the TB and HIV epidemics, and thereby contribute to alleviating poverty.

So why do I remain optimistic despite the many challenges we face? As Nelson Mandela said in his “make poverty history” speech, “Do not look the other way; do not hesitate. Recognise that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision”. I believe that at Aurum this is exactly what we do! We have a clear purpose and we are action orientated. But more than that, the reason that I am most optimistic is that I believe that at Aurum we have remarkable teams of people that are committed, hardworking and who persevere regardless of the challenges and who find creative solutions to overcoming our challenges. Again, in the words of Nelson Mandela, “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.” In honour of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, I call on every one of us to accept Nelson Mandela’s challenge to act with courage and vision and to be that “great generation”. Let us show the world that we at Aurum are a “great” team and that together we can overcome our challenges and help eliminate poverty and end TB and HIV. I look forward to working with you to achieve our vision.

The Aurum Institute Group Chief Executive Officer - Professor Gavin Churchyard