Monday, January 21, 2008

Elton - A Champion of Love

Veteran British pop star Elton John has donated 120 motorbikes to help doctors and nurses do their rounds in the mountainous southern African kingdom of Lesotho.

John, accompanied by his partner David Furnish, took time out on Saturday from a tour of South Africa to visit Lesotho for the handover ceremony just outside the capital Maseru.

The donation forms part of the Riders for Health Programme funded by the singer's own AIDS foundation.

"We want to improve the transport system by bringing health care to millions of people living in the most rural areas and thus making a difference in their lives," said John in comments reported by local media.

The five-year programme is being run in partnership with the Lesotho government which will help maintain the bikes and instruct local health staff in riding them.

Health ministry spokesman Tumisang Mokoai said the programme was designed to deliver primary health care services to communities in the remote areas.

"The nurses and doctors will have transport to follow up patients in the villages to support community health workers. The motorcycles will be distributed to all health centres in Lesotho," he said.

Lesotho is one of Africa's poorest countries and worst affected by the AIDS pandemic, with some 23 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 49 HIV positive.

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