SOURCE: VillageReach

VillageReach

February 23, 2009 09:01 ET

VillageReach Selected as Finalist for Rio Tinto Sustainability Prize

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - February 23, 2009) - VillageReach, the Seattle-based international organization that increases developing nations' access to healthcare, today announced it has been short listed for the US$1M Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability 2008. The prize is awarded annually by an international Adjudication Panel of distinguished sustainability experts.

VillageReach was recognized for its innovative programs that significantly improve the quality and reliability of healthcare in developing countries. It provides low-cost, sustainable healthcare systems for populations in remote, underserved communities and invests in social businesses that support critical infrastructure for these communities. Today more than 5 million people benefit from the VillageReach model.

"We are delighted to be short listed for the Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability in 2008. Our vision is thriving rural communities with access to reliable and affordable local healthcare," said Allen Wilcox, president of VillageReach. "The prize's emphasis on sustainability highlights the critical benefit we provide to communities experiencing extreme poverty and disease."

Since its establishment in 2000, VillageReach has worked with public health systems and global health organizations in Mozambique and Malawi to provide vaccines, medical supplies and training for rural health centers. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for a disproportionate share of the 2.5 million annual childhood deaths by vaccine-preventable diseases.

The global US$1M Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability is open to all not-for-profit, civil society and non-government organizations working to advance the goals of economic, environmental and social sustainability.

An international Adjudication Panel will now conduct an in-depth review of the short-listed organizations to select the winner of the Rio Tinto Prize. Nine short-listed organizations receive a US$15,000 training grant to support training and development opportunities for the organization.

The winner of the Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability 2008 will be announced in June.

Further information about the short-listed organizations can be found at www.riotintoprizeforsustainability.com

About VillageReach

VillageReach extends the reach of conventional healthcare services to remote, underserved communities by creating dynamic delivery and information monitoring systems. As the systems mature, project activities are transitioned to regional public health authorities to allow for true sustainability of these services.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed public company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is a public company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.

High resolution photographs available at: www.riotintoprizeforsustainability.com

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