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Discovery Health Sports Heroes raise awareness for AIDS in the Western Cape

This year, the Discovery Health Sport Heroes Walk Against AIDS (DHSHWAA) will commence in Van Rynsdorp in South Africa on 18 November 2013 and culminate in Khayelitsha on 1 December, World AIDS Day.

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the Sport Heroes Walk Against AIDS, a non-profit initiative that seeks to use sport as a tool to change people’s lives. Each year, various South African sporting personalities walk from one province to the next, raising funds for HIV and AIDS hospices all over South Africa. Trained medical professionals also accompany the Sports Heroes in order to conduct HIV testing and counselling in the communities they travel through.

The 2013 journey will take the Discovery Health Sport Heroes to the Western Cape as they spread a message of hope through sport and healthy living in the ongoing fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. Project participants believe this is a fight that can be won – a belief supplemented by the recent release of a global report on HIV and AIDS by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS).

According to the report, AIDS deaths have dropped substantially over the last few years, with an estimated 1.6 million people dying of AIDS last year compared to about 2.3 million in 2005. In children, new HIV infections have halved since 2001 and in adults, cut by a third.

Discovery Health CEO Dr Jonathan Broomberg adds, “The 2013 UNAIDS report is encouraging in that it proves that through concerted efforts – be it education and prevention, treatment methods, ARV pricing negotiations or building infrastructure and human resources capacity – we can significantly stem the spread of HIV. We are proud to be involved with DHSHWAA. It is through initiatives such as this that South Africa has been managing this pandemic as well as we have so far. However, there is still much work to be done – while the HIV infection rate in South Africa decreased dramatically in the last decade, it remains the world’s highest.”

“As leaders in the private healthcare sector, we believe Discovery Health can contribute significantly to healthcare in our country as a whole. As such, investing in effective disease management and increasing access to quality healthcare to those living with HIV and AIDS, particularly in areas of critical need, remains a priority for us. Through our involvement in DHSHWAA, we reinforce our commitment to Discovery’s core purpose of making people healthier and enhancing and protecting their lives.”

Cynthia Tshaka, Project Coordinator of DHSHWAA, adds: “About six million people in South Africa are currently living with HIV. The funds raised and donated through this initiative go towards easing the burden of those affected by HIV and AIDS and its associated stigma. We are encouraged by the considerable impact this project is making in changing the lives of people in rural communities around South Africa.”

Says SASCOC CEO, Mr Tubby Reddy, “As a sports body, we entirely support the idea to use sport as a vehicle to address HIV/AIDS issues as we appreciate that sport and physical education can play an effective role in the fight against the pandemic. Sport and physical activity can also act as a means of raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and motivating behavioural change amongst the youth. Individuals who are HIV positive are encouraged to exercise and evidence indicates that involvement in sport may help to slow down the disease in affected individuals. We therefore encourage South Africans to attend the event and support the cause in the fight against the ailment.”

One of the project sponsors, the Road Accident Fund (RAF), decided to come on board after realising that DHSHWAA’s goal to connect with more South Africans resonated with that of the Fund. RAF Chief Marketing Officer, Nozipho Jafta says, “The 2012/13 financial year has seen a greater improvement in customer-centricity at the RAF. Initiatives such as our flagship campaign, ‘RAF on the Road’, where we take the organisation’s core service offering directly to disadvantaged communities across the country is but an example of this. We have also used various sporting and cultural platforms to meet the faces behind our claim files and their families – particularly those in vulnerable groupings such as runners, cyclists, pedestrians, public transport users etc.”  

Other project sponsors include NLDTF, Super Sport, SASOL, Budget Car and Truck Hire, and Right to Care. The initiative is endorsed and supported by the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) as the organisation’s flagship project in the sports and entertainment sector.

“Right to Care Health Services a wholly owned subsidiary of Right to Care is proud to be in partnership with DHSHWAA to raise community awareness around HIV. Through the sponsorship of USAID, RTC has continued to provide funding for RTCHS to conduct HIV counselling and testing in communities where the walk occurs. During November 2012 RTCHS conducted 1000 HIV tests in the Eastern Cape along the route of the DHSHWAA. The route this year takes RTCHS and the Discovery Health Sports Heroes through the Western Cape Province where we hope to reach more than 1000 people.’’ Said Dr Thembi Xulu MD: Right To Care Health Services.


This year, DHSHWAA will host a gala dinner at the SASCOC premises in Houghton on 7 November 2013 to raise funds for various hospices. Former South African Rugby Captain John Smit and Cameron van der Burgh have been confirmed as sport speakers for the evening. Mark Lamberti, CEO of Transaction Capital Limited and Chairman of Massmart, will be the guest business speaker, highlighting major role business plays in fighting the stigma and the spread of HIV both in the work place and society at large.

Several well-known personalities will also attend, including Imtiaz Patel, Sizwe Ndlovu, Matthew Brittain, John Smith, James Thompson, Marks Maponyane, Vuyani Bungu, Giulio Zorzi, Bruce Fordyce, Ashwin Willemse, Mark Heywood, Justice Edwin Cameron, Gideon Sam, and Dr Ali Bacher. David O’Sullivan of 702 Talk Radio will be the Master of Ceremonies at the event, which will be broadcast live on SuperSport, with repeat broadcasts leading up to World AIDS Day.



Discovery information

About Discovery Limited

Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, savings and investment products and wellness markets. Founded in 1992 by the current Group Chief Executive Officer Adrian Gore, Discovery was guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. Underpinning this core purpose is the belief that through innovation Discovery can be a powerful market disruptor.

The company, with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, has expanded its operations globally and currently serves over 6.1 million clients across South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, China and Singapore. Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution for individuals and corporates. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds five million lives.

Discovery is an authorised financial services provider. It is listed among South Africa’s Top 40 companies on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange and trades under the code “DSY”.

South African operations

Discovery Health

  • Launched in 1992, Discovery Health isSouth Africa’s largest healthcare funder and manager of medical schemes. It manages 14 medical schemes.
  • This includes the Discovery Health Medical Scheme, which has a 51% share in the open medical schemes market, making it South Africa’s largest open medical scheme.
  • The Discovery Health Medical Scheme covers more than 2.4 million lives.
  •  The Scheme is the only one in South Africa to enjoy an AA+ rating for its claims paying ability, the highest possible credit rating from international rating agency Global Credit Ratings. The Scheme has maintained this rating for 12 consecutive years.
  • The Discovery Health Medical Scheme holds over R8.2 billion in reserves.
  • Discovery Health pioneered consumer-driven healthcare in South Africa with the introduction of innovations like the Medical Savings Account and its wellness programme, Vitality.
  • Discovery Health is continuously innovating new products and tools to enhance the quality of care members receive, including HealthID, an iPad-based application for doctors launched in 2012. The HealthID application is also available on Android mobile devices.
  • Discovery Health was voted the top medical aid brand in the Sunday Times Top Brands survey for both 2010 and 2011.
  • Discovery Health was voted the top healthcare product supplier at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) Awards.
  • In 2012, the PricewaterhouseCoopers fifth biennial Strategic and Emerging Issues in South African Insurance survey rated Discovery Health’s insurance products as the leader in the industry.

Discovery Life

  • Discovery Life was launched in 2000 and is South Africa’s fastest growing major life assurer in the risk market, having captured 25% of the overall risk broker market.
  • It was the first South African insurer to separate risk from investment, leading significant change in the industry.
  • With 364 887 individual policies, the embedded value of its business is now more than R17 billion including Discovery Invest.
  • Discovery Life addresses the problem of underinsurance through its unique integrated operating model and through innovative product development.
  • Discovery Life was voted the top life assurer in the Sunday Times Top Brands survey for both 2010 and 2011.
  • Discovery Life was voted the top risk and life assurance supplier at the 2010 Financial Intermediaries’ Association of Southern Africa (FIA) Awards and the top long-term insurer: recurring savings at the 2011 and 2012 FIA Awards.
  • In 2012, the PricewaterhouseCoopers fifth biennial Strategic and Emerging Issues in South African Insurance survey rated Discovery Life’s life products as the leader in the industry.

Discovery Invest 

  • Discovery Invest was launched in 2007 and declared its maiden profit in 2010.
  • Discovery Invest combines the breadth and skill of the asset management industry with the existing research and development capabilities of Discovery Life.
  • The company offers consumers a unique and comprehensive product range that addresses the current gaps in the market by offering greater protection against poor investment choices.
  • With 74 327 policies, Discovery Invest now has more than R26.6 billion in assets under management.
  • Through Discovery Invest’s LISP platform, clients have access to over 329 local and 65 offshore investment funds.
  • Discovery Invest is now the largest writer of endowment policies in South Africa with a 21% market share.
  • In 2011, Discovery Invest received the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) award for best recurring premium business.

Discovery Insure

  • Discovery Insure was launched in May 2011 and now has 27 973 policyholders.
  • This pioneering product was created by leveraging the behavioural expertise developed in the Vitality programme with the latest telematics technology.
  • The unique Vitalitydrive programme encourages and rewards better driving behaviour and ensuring that vehicles are roadworthy.
  • At the heart of Vitalitydrive is the DQ-Track telematics device that measures and reports crucial aspects of driving behaviour.
  • Vitalitydrive provides up to 50% fuel rewards on clients’ monthly BP fuel spend.
  • Young adults between 18 and 25 can receive further discounts of up to 25% on their motor premiums.
  • Discovery Insure offers comprehensive vehicle, personal and household cover.
Discovery Vitality

  • Launched in October 1997, Vitality is Discovery’s science-based wellness programme that underpins each of the Discovery businesses and is an international brand in its own right.
  • It is the largest programme of its kind in the world, with a global membership base of over five million. 
  • Vitality encourages healthy behaviours that reduce long-term healthcare costs by rewarding members for improving their health.
  • There are now more than 1.6 million Vitality members in South Africa.
  • Vitality is accredited by the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.
  • The Vitality value offering is enhanced by the DiscoveryCard, Discovery’s unique Visa credit card which gives members real cash back.
  • Launched in October 2004, the DiscoveryCard is South Africa’s largest non-bank new generation credit card in issue, with an 8.9% share of point-of-sales spend. There are now 231 302 primary cardholders.
  • The HealthyLiving benefit offers Vitality members up to 25% cash back on HealthyCare products at Clicks, HealthyGear at adidas and TotalSports stores, and HealthyFood items at Pick n Pay.
  • Vitality now has the ability to integrate into over 100 fitness tracking technologies.

International operations

United Kingdom

In the UK, Discovery has a 75% shareholding in a joint venture with Prudential plc. Through PruHealth and PruProtect, the company offers healthcare cover and protection products.


  • Launched in April 2004, PruHealth is the fourth largest Private Medical Insurer in the UK and the only one that rewards people for leading a healthy lifestyle.
  • PruHealth now covers 548 970 lives.
  • It offers consumer-directed products linked to the Vitality wellness programme.
  • In 2010, Discovery acquired Standard Life Healthcare, thereby leveraging the significant assets of both companies and resulting in greater scale for PruHealth.
  • PruHealth has won several awards for its product innovations.


  • PruProtect, which was launched in September 2007, markets consumer-engaged life assurance products in the UK market.
  • The company’s products integrate with those of PruHealth and Vitality to unlock added value and significant premium savings for clients.
  • The company has become a major player in the UK protection market. With 136 164 policies in force, it now covers 163 566 lives.
  • PruProtect has received industry recognition, including awards in four categories at the 2011 Defacto Awards. The company was also named Best Individual Protection Provider in 2011 by Professional Adviser, and walked off with the Innovation Award at the 2011 Protection Review.

United States

The Vitality Group

  • The Vitality Group was launched in 2007 and offers a stand-alone version of the Vitality programme to self-insured, large employer groups and to healthcare carriers.
  • Discovery holds a 75% share in The Vitality Group, 25% being held by Humana Inc.
  • The Vitality Group now covers 293 674 lives.
  • The Vitality Group has entered into a partnership with Wellness and Prevention, a subsidiary of Johnson&Johnson, the world’s premier consumer health company.
  • The Vitality Group recently announced a partnership with ADP, one of the world’s largest providers of payroll and employee benefits administration solutions.
  • In 2011, the group was awarded the C Everett Koop National Health Award for its work with Alcon Laboratories, a highly prestigious award recognising outstanding workplace health improvement programmes.


  • Launched in February 2011, HumanaVitality is a joint venture between Humana Inc and Discovery (through The Vitality Group) that makes Vitality available to Humana clients with commercial medical plans.
  • Discovery holds a 25% share in HumanaVitality.
  • Humana is the third largest US insurer, based on revenue. Humana has approximately 11.8 million medical members and 7.7 million specialty members.
  • HumanaVitality now has more than 1.5 million Vitality members.


Ping An Health

  • Ping An Health was launched in China in 2009, after Discovery acquired a 20% share in Ping An Health Insurance Co of China Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China.
  • Ping An Insurance is China’s leading insurer and the second largest insurer in the world.
  • The joint venture will see Discovery’s product innovation and consumer-engaged model exported to a potential market of 83 million families.
  • Vitality was launched in China through Ping An Health in June 2012.


AIA Vitality

  • AIA Vitality was launched in Singapore in July 2013, after a strategic joint venture between AIA Group Limited and Discovery Limited that aims to introduce Discovery’s successful wellness-based life insurance model to the Asia-Pacific region.
  • AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group and holds leading positions across the majority of its markets. It has operations in 17 markets in Asia-Pacific and has operated in Singapore for more than 80 years.
  • AIA serves the holders of more than 25 million individual policies and over 13 million participating members of group insurance schemes.
  • The investment to be made in AIA Vitality by Discovery is expected to fall within Discovery’s strategic framework of less than 5% of pre-tax profits for new business development. 


Felicity Hudson

Felicity Hudson

Press contact Head of Reputation Management Discovery Group 0115294514
Nthabiseng Chapeshamano

Nthabiseng Chapeshamano

Press contact Senior Reputation Manager Invest, Cogence, Long & Short Term Insurance, and Sustainability
Zeenat Moorad

Zeenat Moorad

Press contact Senior Reputation Manager Banking | Vitality | Sponsorships
Karishma Jivan

Karishma Jivan

Press contact Senior Reputation Management Consultant Healthcare & Sustainability
Sesona Ngqakamba

Sesona Ngqakamba

Press contact Reputation Management Consultant Banking | Vitality | Sponsorships
Lianne Osterberger

Lianne Osterberger

Press contact Senior Manager: Media Relations and Reputation Management 083 27 27 313
Hannah Newbold

Hannah Newbold

Press contact Reputation Management Consultant Insure & Invest