"Treating HIV is an undertaking that spans several generations"

On 1 July 2016, our parent organisation Swiss Aids Care Inter­na­tional was renamed as the Ruedi Lüthy Foundation. Chief Executive of the foundation Sabine Lüthy ex­plains the reasons behind the name change, and what it means for the future.

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?
o, 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.