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HEALTH: Adcock Ingram Generics Invests in the Future Of South Africa


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Adcock Ingram Generics Invests In The Future Of South Africa’s Children

There’s nothing generic about Adcock Ingram Generics’ vision for the future. While the company remains focused on providing cost-effective, high-quality medicines to all South Africans, its broader commitment is to uplifting the people of our country, individual by individual and community by community.

Adcock Ingram Generics’ Community Upliftment Programmes (CUPs) are pharmacist-driven initiatives that embrace, among others, literacy programmes, sports’ sponsorships and the greening of communities. Eighteen CUPs are currently underway countrywide. All CUPs aim to make a lasting and sustainable difference to the communities in question.

In the majority of cases, each CUP implemented by Adcock Ingram Generics was originally proposed by a community pharmacy from the area in question. However, the company’s involvement with a grassroots children’s outreach initiative called Star of Peace came about in a different way. Colin Sheen, commercial executive in Adcock Ingram Generics’ prescription marketing department, got talking to petrol pump attendant, Aaron Pole, while the latter was filling up his car. Wearing another hat, Pole is the chairperson of Star of Peace. When Sheen heard of the work Pole was doing to help underprivileged young sportsmen and women in the Magaliesburg area, he saw an ideal opportunity for another Adcock Ingram Generics CUP.

Aaron Pole explains further. “There are many talented children in our country. But unfortunately not all of them have the means or opportunity to develop their talents. I have recruited 75 school going youngsters aged 8-20 years, who are participating in various sporting activities such as soccer, netball and volleyball. In addition, they also take part in cultural pursuits like modern dancing, traditional dancing and gumboot dancing. In the course of these activities, their self-esteem and confidence are boosted and a sense of belonging is fostered.”

Pole is passionate about these children’s future and is aiming high on their behalf. “My vision is to see that top-class institutions around our country, including Premier Soccer League clubs like Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs, recognise their abilities and open doors for them. Developing and empowering these children will allow them to participate more effectively in, and add value to their community and the country as a whole. By investing in this next generation, teaching them responsibility and accountability, we will also help to reduce social problems such as drug abuse, crime and teenage pregnancy,” he says. He hopes in time to increase the number of children in Star of Peace to 100.

With Adcock Ingram Generics’ support, Pole has been able to provide complete soccer kits for two of his teams.

By a strange coincidence, a community pharmacy was already involved with Star of Peace and had a longstanding relationship with Aaron Pole. Hannelie Hartman, the owner of Country Pharmacy, Magaliesburg, has lived in the town for 21 years. “We feel that we are part of the community and that the community is part of Country Pharmacy,” she says. Aaron Pole is a long-time customer of the pharmacy and both Hartman and her pharmacist, Nicola Erasmus, patronise Pole’s petrol station. “We therefore know him personally, not just as the chairperson of Star of Peace, and were only too happy to be of assistance when he approached us.” Country Pharmacy has made financial contributions, along with donations of first aid equipment. “We also assist with advice in respect of sports injuries,” continues Hartman.

Erasmus admires Pole’s work immensely, underscoring that it goes beyond sports involvement. “Many of these children come from broken homes or have been abused. Some go hungry to school; others may not have shoes. Aaron has become a mentor, someone who is there for them emotionally. When he identifies a need, little by little, he does what’s necessary to address it, using the donations he receives to buy food and clothes. He has become known in the community as someone who can be relied upon to help.”

Erasmus only learned of Adcock Ingram Generics’ CUPs after Colin Sheen had already pledged the company’s support to Star of Peace. “Had Adcock Ingram Generics not already been in the picture, I would certainly have nominated Star of Peace myself. Now we’ll be able to do so much more together to sustain Aaron’s work in the future,” she concludes.

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