The foundation who runs and funds Newlands Clinic was set up some 13 years ago, and has become well-established in the meantime. Why decide to change the name now?
Our primary objective is to secure the future of the foundation. Swiss Aids Care International was at times being confused with other Swiss organisations, and the name wasn't really generating resonance. Most of our donors and the public associate our work directly with my father, Ruedi Lüthy, who set up the foundation and the clinic. The new name underscores our commitment to continuing the foundation's work in keeping with his vision and ideals over the long term, while at the same time positioning it clearly among the other foundations in Switzerland.
Will there also be a realignment in the foundation's activities?
Since it was set up in 2003, our foundation has sought to help destitute HIV patients in Zimbabwe – and we will continue to do so. With 1.6 million people living with HIV infection and 40,000 deaths from Aids every year, this is unfortunately still desperately needed. The three mainstays of our approach are treating patients, training local healthcare workers, and clinical research. The new name will not change this in any way. On the contrary, it is a promise that we will stay resolutely focused on the original goals and Ruedi Lüthy's philosophy. Since the treatment of HIV/Aids patients is an undertaking that spans several generations, it is essential that our work continues for a long time to come.
Does this mean Ruedi Lüthy is about to step down?
No, he remains the Medical Director of Newlands Clinic and also a member of the Board of Trustees. He is responsible for the treatment concept as well as the training of both our own medical team and healthcare workers from other clinics. Looking to the future, we are seeking to cooperate closely with a Swiss hospital, since it is important that the latest findings regarding HIV therapy are continually incorporated in our work in Zimbabwe, and that quality controls meet Swiss standards.
As well as a new name, the foundation also has a new visual identity. Why?
Our existing profile dated back to 2003 and no longer met our requirements with regard to communicating with donors and the public. The new name presented the ideal opportunity for making changes here too. We want to present a comprehensive and transparent insight into our work in Zimbabwe – this is at the very heart of what we do. We are delighted with our new appearance, and hope our donors are equally pleased with the results.