•Delta, Bayelsa, Ondo, Lagos among beneficiaries
Determined to reduce estimated 220,000 new Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) infections, 160, 000 Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)-related deaths, 37,000 Mother-To-Child Transmission (MTCT) of the virus as well as improve access to treatment for people living with the disease, Chevron Nigeria Limited, (CNL), an affiliate of Chevron Corporation (Chevron), has announced the disbursement of US$5 million (N2 billion) to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).
General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, CNL, Esimaje Brikinn, at the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM – Nigeria) yearly retreat 2017 held in Lagos, over the weekend, said, US$2.5 million (N1 billion) is for the implementation of the Chevron-Global Fund Anti-Retroviral Treatment Service Maintenance Program (ART Programme), in Delta, Bayelsa, Ondo and Lagos states.
Brikinn said in 2018, a final installment of US$2.5 million would be disbursed to support these HIV programmes, amounting to a total contribution of US$5 million by Chevron.
He said: “The ART programme will help bridge a critical national health gap and continue Chevron’s work in achieving an AIDS-free geme will help reduce new HIV infections and improve the quality of life for people living with HIV and other affected people in the communities of the targeted states. Additionally, it will provide Nigerians with universal access to high-quality, patient-centered prevention, diagnosis and treatment services for tuberculosis, HIV and drug-resistant tuberculosis by 2020.”
Brikinn said these disbursements are part of a nine-year, US$60 million commitment from Chevron to the Global Fund.
The Global Fund raises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programmes run by local experts to fight the three diseases in countries and communities most in need. The Global Fund is one of the world’s largest international financier of health care programs fighting these three diseases.
The Global Fund’s Strategy 2017-2022 outlines results targets for the partnership. Programs supported by the Global Fund will save 14 million lives in the three-year period beginning in 2017, bringing the total lives saved by the Global Fund partnership to 36 million by the end of 2019. Those programmes will also avert up to 194 million new infections or cases of HIV, TB and malaria.
Commending the initiative, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who chaired the retreat, reiterated the need for the public private partnership (PPP) and private investments to combat disease and epidemic in the country.
He said the chevron’s global fund contribution was a worthy investment and a call for the private sector partnership with the government to combat and reduce the burden of HIV and other diseases in Nigeria, as the government can no do it alone.
Emphasizing on the world AIDS day celebration, Adewole said, the government has invested largely in the treatment of over one million people, as the government is focused on achieving the 90-90-90 agenda, through major data survey, which he described as “ the largest based population study in the world”, that will cover the entire county to ascertain the exact number of people infected with the HIV.
The Minister, however, implored corporate organisations and other private entities as well as affluent individuals to emulate Chevron. “There is no greater investment than investing in the people of the country, which is the source of the company’s wealth,” he said.