06 June 2011

Rio Tinto, through its subsidiary Simfer S.A (Simfer) has been selected as a winner of the 2011 Global Business Coalition Health Business Action on Health Awards.  The award was won for Rio Tinto's work on malaria and HIV/AIDS prevention in the communities surrounding the Simandou iron ore mine in Guinea.

The awards, presented by the Global Business Coalition Health (GBC Health), recognize the best corporate programmes developed to address global health needs.

Sub-Saharan Africa holds 67% of all people living with HIV and 75% of AIDS deaths in 2007.  The Guinean HIV/AIDS infection rate in 2005 was 1.5% .  This figure ranges from 2.4% in urban to 1% in rural areas. Like many developing countries, Guinea is characterized by a youthful population with approximately 60% under 20 years of age.  Secondary education rates currently stand at 42%, falling to 28% for tertiary education. Knowledge of HIV is also low among men (18.4%) and women (13.8%).

Rio Tinto's community malaria and HIV/AIDS program in Guinea partners with the government's National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), local sub-prefectural health centres, bilateral aid agencies and NGOs to provide reinforcement and logistical support to existing public health efforts and ensure program sustainability. 

To address HIV treatment issues that stem from the closest HIV treatment facility being more than nine hours away, Rio Tinto and its partners are working to provide local access to services by setting up a treatment facility in the prefecture.  The projects are fully aligned with the national strategy in combating HIV/AIDS and malaria.  Through partnership with Government, bilateral aid agencies and NGOs, the projects aim to strengthen universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support.

The award was collected by Rio Tinto General Manager Economic Development and Government Relations Thierno Diallo.  He said: "Rio Tinto has been recognized for our innovative approach to partnership in Guinea, cooperating with government, bilateral aid agencies and NGOs to ensure the health and safety of our local communities.  We are honoured and proud to receive this prestigious award, and wish to pay particular thanks to our employees and community team, our partners, without whom our project could not have been such a success."

This award confirms Rio Tinto's commitment to working with the government to enhance opportunities for education and training, to support the development of young people in Guinea, and to ensuring that its activities fully support the welfare of the communities that are vital to its success.