Kelly Gate

When Dr Kelly Gate arrived at Bethesda as a medical manager in 2010 the rural hospital was on life support. Three junior doctors held the fort, making do with limited resources, and the patient population was dwindling rapidly. Two years later, 20 doctors work at the small rural facility in the northern KwaZulu-Natal district of Umkhanyakude, where more than 40% of all pregnant women are HIV positive. Gates and his team have succeeded in providing 7 500 HIV-infected patients with antiretroviral treatment. Since his arrival at Bethesda, the maternal and perinatal mortality rates have halved and the rate of HIV transmission from mother to child has been reduced to less than 2.5%. And things can only get better because the 2012 Rural Doctor of the Year and his wife intend to stay put. “Bethesda’s become my life’s project and I would love to stick around to see it go from strength to strength,” says Gate. — Fatima Asmal