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The Global Health Legacy of Nelson Mandela

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Photo courtesy of Library of the London School of Economics and Political Science (via Wikimedia Commons)

Photo courtesy of Library of the London School of Economics and Political Science (via Wikimedia Commons)

Thomas Kenyon, MD MPH

Thomas Kenyon, MD MPH

The world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela last week. As His Excellency President Zuma stated, though this was expected, we are still feeling much pain. The world is without question a better place because of Nelson Mandela. He taught us forgiveness, service to others, dignity and integrity, and commitment to justice. His vision for South Africa reinforced the importance of health equity. In 1992, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation established the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. The award was designed to recognize exceptional contributions to health for the most disadvantaged populations in South Africa and around the world.

Many members of the CDC family have worked in South Africa inspired by the opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of that nation’s disadvantaged groups. Having spent 15 years of my life in southern Africa beginning in Swaziland in the 1980s, Nelson Mandela has had a profound influence on me and my family. But even those of us who never met President Mandela are motivated by his vision of health as part of human rights, and CDC’s global health work supports that mission around the world.

CDC has a history of hard work and dedication in South Africa that is highly recognized and respected. Even through the sadness of President Mandela’s death, our dedication to his vision will endure, not only in South Africa but throughout the world.

 
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