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Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik to be presented with honourary doctorate

The McMaster graduate is the founder and medical director of Guelph’s ARCH clinic which provides HIV care to over 700 patients in southwestern Ontario
Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik
Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik. Photo:

Family physician, Anne-Marie Zajdlik will be receiving an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from McMaster University in honour of her service to humanity at convocation to be held on May 24 at the First Canadian Concert Hall, in Hamilton. Zajdlik, a family physician and an HIV specialist has made it her life’s work to see the end of AIDS.

The McMaster graduate is the founder and medical director of Guelph’s ARCH clinic which provides HIV care to over 700 patients in southwestern Ontario. She is the founding director of Bracelet of Hope, a charitable organization that she began in 2006 that works to see the end of AIDS in the country of Lesotho, in southern Africa. In its first two and a half years, Bracelet of Hope raised $1 million in Waterloo region, in Guelph and through the University of Guelph. These funds were used to support the Ontario Hospital Association in their efforts to build the first HIV/AIDS clinic in Lesotho providing the clinic’s 2009 operating costs and keeping 10,000 people alive on treatment throughout that year.

Since then, the organization has gone on to fund six foster homes for children mostly orphaned by AIDS and a variety of other HIV/AIDS related programs. Initially, the organization raised thousands of dollars through the sales of handmade red-and-white bracelets which provided income for more than 100 African women artisans in Eshowe, South Africa.

Dr. Zajdlik was honoured with the Meritorious Service Medal, Civil Division, from the Governor General of Canada at Rideau Hall in 2016. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctors of Law from the University of Guelph (2008), the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Life-time Achievement Award, The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012),

Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellow, and the Order of Ontario (2009). Zajdlik travels to Lesotho, paying her own way, to support those affected by HIV/AIDS while continuing to care for hundreds of HIV positive patients in South-Western Ontario.

“I am honoured to receive this award; my hope is to continue to bring attention to the children and adults who are suffering as a result of HIV/AIDS while expanding treatment efforts that will see the end of the AIDS pandemic. We have come so far from when I started: New and powerful drugs that allow for a normal life expectancy and prevent transmission, greater education and awareness programs that have averted millions of infections and a concerted global effort that will see the end of AIDS in my lifetime. I am particularly proud of the role that Canadians have played in our efforts. I receive this honour on behalf of our partners both here and in Lesotho and our donors across the province in Ontario.”

Bracelet of Hope innovates with mobile clinics Bracelet of Hope is launching a new initiative to fund mobile AIDS medical clinics, in Lesotho. Many clinics are far from clients in this rugged, mountainous country. Bracelet of Hope is joining hands with SolidarMed, a Swiss based charity to target residents in need of regular HIV/AIDS related medications, and other illnesses. This organization already has mobile clinics on the ground. Bracelet of Hope will work with SolidarMed to build up their capacity by increasing the number of mobile clinics.

Bracelet of Hope is aiming to fund its first mobile clinic by the end of 2018, with more clinics to come. Costs for vehicle, staffing, medicines and related start-up costs will be $100,000 in the first year. Always caring for children While Bracelet of Hope will reach out to those living with HIV/AIDS through mobile clinics, it will continue supporting its foster children who are located in six homes around Lesotho. The organization remains committed to ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Lesotho, in alignment with UNAIDS goals. Its vision is to see Lesotho AIDS free, by supporting HIV treatment and by creating healthy sustainable communities through collaborative engagement with the people of Lesotho.

The organization will also focus on prevention. The vision continues “We are at a pivotal moment for Bracelet of Hope. The new mobile clinics will fulfil my vision for fighting HIV/AIDS in Lesotho,” says Dr. Zajdlik.



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