JKH pledges support for 8th ICAAP
John Keells Holdings Limited has extended its support as the principal Sri Lankan corporate sponsor of the 8th ICAAP – International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific scheduled to be held in Colombo in August 2007.
“Everyday nearly 8000 people die from AIDS (globally). Faced with such staggering facts, there is a burning need for us to address this fast growing epidemic that can potentially have a significant impact on Sri Lanka as well. Our sponsorship of ICAAP is an extension of John Keells’ commitment to make a significant contribution towards HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention in Sri Lanka,” said Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman of John Keells Holdings, at the formal ceremony to announce the company’s sponsorship as the Principal Sri Lankan Corporate Sponsor.
The sponsorship was handed over to Dr Sujatha Samarakoon, a Co-Chair of the 8th ICAAP in the presence of fellow co-chairs Prof. A. H. Sheriffdeen and Bradman Weerakoon. Also present were Ms. Marina Mahathir, Advisor to the Local Organizing Committee and Kah Sin Cho, Regional Programme Advisor, Asia and the Pacific, UNAIDS.
ICAAP is an international body that seeks to bring partner organizations under one roof to create dialogue on critical issues affecting the region and to discuss the ways through which countries can create awareness, education, improve access to treatment, care and support and to lessen the impact of AIDS. Deemed the largest ever international conference, Sri Lanka will have the honour of hosting the 8th annual conference to be held in Colombo in August this year – an event which will see more than 3500 delegates attending from 60 countries.
Sumithra Gunesekera, Director - John Keells Holdings who heads the group’s CSR activities said, “In Sri Lanka, HIV is a fast growing concern with a recorded 815 cases of infected and an estimated 5000 persons living with HIV.
Although the country has a relatively small number of people living with HIV/AIDS, high-risk behaviours that contribute to the spread of HIV are prevalent, making the country vulnerable to an increase in infections. Sri Lanka has a narrowing window of opportunity to forestall the spread of HIV among high-risk groups and JKH is pleased to be able to play its part in redressing this issue.”