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m2m Founder Dr. Mitch Besser Receives University of Cape Town’s Highest Honour

Dr. Mitch Besser

m2m Founder Dr. Mitch Besser

The University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa conferred its highest honour—Doctor of Science in Medicine (honoris causa)—on Dr. Mitch Besser, mothers2mothers (m2m) Founder and Member of m2m South Africa and U.S. Boards. The honorary doctorate was presented to Mitch during graduation ceremonies last week, a time that UCT says it “pays tribute to extraordinary individuals who have played a pivotal role in the development of society at large.”

Mitch joined UCT’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1999 to assist with the development of services for pregnant women living with HIV to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PTCT) of HIV. It was during his time at UCT that Mitch founded m2m to provide peer-to-peer education and support to help women access lifesaving PMTCT services, after discovering that many women who tested positive for HIV were too frightened to return to a clinic for treatment. From administering the programme from the back of his car and at a single site at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital, he has been a critical driver and integral part of m2m’s growth. Today, m2m—and our model—is recognised as a global leader in efforts to eliminate paediatric AIDS and create healthy families and communities through the delivery of integrated primary health care to entire families.

“His work has epitomised the values of service, integrity, respect, fairness, courage and responsibility – which have been at the core of every professional endeavour he has undertaken – and these are values that are also central to UCT,” wrote Emer Prof Daya Reddy, Vice-Chancellor, in an announcement about the honour.

To read UCT’s announcement, click here.

Congratulations to Mitch for this wonderful recognition!


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