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Aurum staff embrace Ubuntu on Nelson Mandela Day

Motivated by the Nelson Mandela quote, "It is in your hands to make a better world for all who live in it," Aurum staff in the North West province joined hands to make a difference in the lives of the people in the communities they so tirelessly serve through the work they do through the organisation.

Blossom Makhubalo, The Aurum Institute's Community Engagement Manager, firmly believes that research teams cannot turn a blind eye to the harsh reality faced by these communities. Heading the Community Engagement Team in Klerksdorp, Makhubalo has been involved in an upcoming IMPAACT 2034 TB vaccine clinical trial in the township of Khuma. The trial aims to enroll children aged 8 to 14, including those living with HIV and those who are not. During this process, Makhubalo became aware of the needs of the learners at Hata-Butle Primary School Primary in Khuma, all of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Our key stakeholders are the community. For us to test vaccines, new treatments, HIV Prevention Products, we need the community to buy in. Volunteers are from communities and without community buy in there will be no trust and without trust we would struggle to recruit volunteers to participate in clinical trials. Without the trust and understanding of community on how clinical trials operate we would not be able to effectively implement our research." said Makhubalo. 

Although these donations were unrelated to the trial, Makhubalo reached out to her colleagues and turned it into a Nelson Mandela project, emphasising the social responsibility we all have to help others. The learners received school uniforms, including socks, shoes, ties, dresses, pants, and shirts, as well as stationery, comfort packs, washcloths, sanitary pads, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.

Pride Mabala, Aurum Office Co-Ordinator together with the Health Systems Division (HSD) Aurum team that supports Oukasie Clinic in Bojanala district each donated and spent their 67 Minutes providing patients on Antiretroviral therapy (ART) with food parcels. Additionally, the team also donated clothing and sleeping material.  The team identified four families in the communities who could benefit the most from these donations and personally delivered the donations to their doorsteps.

Mabala states that due to their living conditions, these patients find it difficult to adhere to their treatment. “As much as we work to ensure they adhere to treatment, we have to acknowledge the many basic essentials they do not have. This is why we decided to rally together and to see their faces when we delivered these donations, warmed our hearts,” she said.

The Aurum team at the Rustenburg Clinical Research Site went on a mission to ensure SOS Children’s Village received sanitary pads and bar soaps, Rustenburg East Old Age Home tenants felt special by popping in for a visit and provided fruit baskets and lastly at Bapong Community Health Centre, in an effort to spread education in the community on TB prevention to end TB and highlight the research studies conducted by site and the significance of participating in research to fight TB.

Additionally, the HSD Ngaka Modiri Molema District Data Management team together with councillors headed by Charlotte Kgosiethata, Aurum Senior Data Monitor hosted a range of health services and initiatives with the goal of giving back to the community of Letsopa.

The activities included an HTS campaign, index testing, STI screening, and health education booths, all aimed at promoting early HIV detection and support the community through vital information sharing.

Furthermore, Kgosiethata organised a donation drive for the Paediatric Department of Letsopa Clinic, and the surrounding community, diligently collecting clothes, blankets, and funds after a prior personal donation and experience the needs of the community at first hand.

“It is important to give back to the community work in through Aurum. We are not only concerned with bringing numbers and meeting targets, but we also care deeply for the wellbeing of our communities at large.” she said. 

She believes that the outpouring of support she has received from her team, truly incorporated the organisations value of Teamwork. 

In the spirit of Nelson Mandela's legacy, our Aurum staff inspire us all, by embracing Ubuntu. 


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