Press Release

April 12, 2007


State of Illinois welcomes delegates from South Africa to help fight the battle against HIV/AIDS

It is the second trip to Illinois for health officials from
Northern Cape Province

CHICAGO, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) tomorrow will welcome a delegation of health officials arriving from Kimberley, Northern Cape Province, South Africa, for the second time since Illinois initiated a sister-state exchange between the Northern Cape Province and the State of Illinois to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in African and African American communities in Illinois and around the world.

The sister-state exchange is one element of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s BASUAH

(Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) initiative. BASUAH targets the African American community and focuses on education, prevention and testing for HIV/AIDS to combat the high rate of HIV cases reported within that community in Illinois. Although African Americans only comprise 15 -percent of the state’s population, they accounted for more than half of the newly reported HIV cases across Illinois in 2004.

“This partnership consists of a mutually beneficial knowledge exchange between Illinois and our South African partners on how to address the HIV/AIDS crisis,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. We’ve traveled to South African and seen first hand the affects of HIV on a community. The lessons learned in South Africa help us further strategize our efforts for health education, testing and risk reduction.”

The delegation of South African health officials includes the Northern Cape Province medical director Dr. Theys, Deputy Director of the Department of Health Nomathemba Mazibuko, and Director Communicable Diseases Phyllis Baitsiwe.

IDPH HIV/AIDS Section Chief Dr. Andre Rawls will host the delegation during its 9-day stay. Plans include visits to health agencies, tours of health facilities in Illinois including divisions of

IDPH, and a greeting and reception by members of the State Legislature. Dr. Rawls has traveled to South Africa twice in the last year to assist with efforts to strengthen programs and activities there.

“I’m thrilled to have the delegates back again to learn and share with our public health agency,” said Dr. Rawls. “The Governor should be applauded for initiating this exchange and supporting an undertaking that has such far reaching applications.”

Attention Editors: The following is the schedule for the delegates visiting from South Africa.

To cover any of the following events or to schedule interviews, please contact Kimberly Parker at 312-814-1577.

Thursday, April 12th  

3 p.m.

Delegates arrive in Chicago
Working Meeting at HIV/AIDS Section of IDPH

Location: Chicago Office
Friday, April 13th  
9 a.m. Prevention Community Planning Group
Location: Chicago
Tuesday, April 17th  
  Delegates travel to Springfield
Wednesday, April 18th  
8:30 a.m. Working with HIV/AIDS Administrators
10:30 a.m. Meeting at IDPH Division of Infectious Disease
Location: Springfield Office
1 p.m. Legislative Greeting (by Representative Constance Howard)
Location: Springfield
Thursday, April 19th  

8:30 a.m.
Breakfast Reception with IL Black Caucus Legislators
Location: Springfield
1 p.m. Site Visit of a Tuberculosis Clinic
Location: (Suburban) Chicago
Friday, April 20th  
  Delegates depart for home ( South Africa)

For more information, visit or call the Illinois HIV/AIDS and STD hotline at 1-800-243-2437 during the following hours: M-F 9 a.m.-11 p.m., weekends 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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