The Tobeka Madiba Zuma Foundation, or TMZ Foundation, started its operations in 2010 with the goal of offering humanitarian support through a radical approach. Created by Madam Tobeka Madiba Zuma, the Foundation is keen to give a helping hand to those in need, doing so in a way that aids the accomplishment of Sustainable Development Goals by the government of South Africa.
Among the key health programmes and interventions that the TMZ Foundation focuses on is tuberculosis screening, HIV/Aids testing and cancer awareness, testing and screening. It views these as key towards improving lives, especially of people who live in rural parts of South Africa. Madam Tobeka Zuma, a former First Lady of the country, has gained many ardent supporters through the Foundation, including Willah Joseph Mudolo, a co-founder of ADF Group and seasoned entrepreneur who is a funding partner of the foundation.
Madam Zuma is the founder and patron of the Foundation. She has worked tirelessly to establish an outreach initiative that provides help to children, women and the elderly. Her work has garnered worldwide recognition, including an award from the American Cancer Society in 2011 for Global Leadership in Cancer, Non-Communicable Diseases and Women’s Health. Madam Zuma has also been a recipient of an Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award in Health and Social Development, and honoured by UNAIDS for her work in integrating Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases.
The TMZ Foundation is guided by a vision that foresees a South Africa where all people have access to healthcare, and the vulnerable groups in society are provided with the opportunity to know about cancer, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS and take preventive measures. The Foundation’s mission is accomplished through the delivery of sustainable initiatives that can be accessed by all people, regardless of where they come from. In doing so, the Foundation hopes to empower the vulnerable and give hope to those who need it the most.
The target group for the Foundation’s work in rural communities that are disadvantaged is vulnerable women and children. It reaches these groups by being proactive and responsive to their needs, approaching them ethically and in confidence with a positive regard for their welfare that’s founded on integrity and unconditional care.
Among the key objectives that the TMZ Foundation has focused on is preventing new HIV/AIDS infections in South Africa. This is the country’s most critical health issue, even after the rollout of the world’s largest anti-retroviral treatment campaign. The Foundation has set 2030 as the year by which it wants to have completely eradicated the country’s AIDS epidemic.
One of the key approaches adopted towards this goal is the establishment of HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) services. These are undertaken together with the Right to Care Campaign and the Department of Health, with the TMZ Foundation planning more funding for these services in rural regions, together with the rollout of mobile units that can also screen for overall wellness in individuals.
Another measure taken by the Foundation is working together with universities in South Africa to highlight and address behavioural factors that contribute to the spread of HIV infections among youth and women. The Foundation has also continued to provide mentorship to young women, encouraging them to prioritise school for their future wellbeing, while also advocating youth-friendly reproductive and sexual health services.
A key issue in the campaign against HIV/AIDS is the need for pregnant women to take up the anti-retroviral treatment provided by the Government as a means of eliminating mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT). The Foundation acknowledges that more funding is necessary to equip health centres with diagnostic testing machines and train more healthcare providers who work with infected mothers and infants.