Mr Cassis, who is the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), was accompanied on his visit to the clinic by Zimbabwe's health minister, Obadiah Moyo, and the clinic's founder, Ruedi Lüthy.
"I am particularly impressed by the enthusiasm and professionalism of Ruedi Lüthy and his daughter Sabine. Thanks to their effective management, the clinic has been able to achieve outstanding results," Mr Cassis said. There are around 6,500 patients at the Newlands Clinic. "That might seem like a small number nationwide," Mr Cassis added "but it means the world to each person the clinic helps."
The clinic takes a holistic approach to the general well-being of its AIDS patients, including dental treatment and psychosocial support. It also tries to ensure that patients eat correctly and young people receive training in vocational skills. In addition, Professor Lüthy runs courses for doctors to help them apply these methods in seven different clinics in Zimbabwe.
The clinic was founded in 2003 and has been receiving support from the FDFA, via the SDC, since 2013. The current yearly funding is CHF 1.1 million. The fight against AIDS is one of the SDC's priorities in southern Africa, which is one the world's most affected regions.