By Elizabeth Willoughby on
Sir Richard Branson is directing attention towards Africa’s medical crisis. Branson’s Virgin Unite, the charitable arm of the Virgin group, has formed a new “war room” to research worthwhile practices on the continent and make them cost-effective. They have already sought out the ‘best of the best’ grassroots charitable organizations to help them.
Branson is no stranger to solving problems in unusual ways. His Heavens Angels program, launched last June, sends “health workers on motorbikes into remote areas to deliver medication, materials and advice.”
Thousands of people die everyday in Sub-Saharan Africa from diseases that could be prevented or at least treated if patients had better access to healthcare. Heaven’s Angels is addressing this, and the program’s unconventionality is generating funding and awareness.
In a recent interview with the Globe & Mail, Sir Richard stated that Virgin Unite “has just built a big clinic in South Africa for AIDS patients … [but] you can’t generate wealth and donations for something like that.”
Through their fundraising efforts, Virgin was able to donate a fleet of 31 bikes to Heaven’s Angels. Besides delivering healthcare workers to distant areas and transporting ill people for treatment, the motorbikes will also be used on days off for other ventures in an effort to generate income and, hopefully, bring new services into the communities.
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