It is possible to end HIV transmission through collective responsibilities by all Nigerians, according to Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and Managing Director, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr Osagie Okunbor.
They all spoke at the launch of the HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria (HTFN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
Wigwe urged the private sector to rise up to the occasion by collaborating with government to sustain HIV transmission response activities to stop spread.
He noted that the original emergency plan to fight HIV/AIDS must transform into a sustained response to prevent new infections and ensure that those on treatment continued with their medications.
He added that “the era of sustainability demands that Africans take responsibility and ownership of response activities to curb the scourge.”
Wigwe, who said that over 80 per cent of funding for HIV/AIDS response had been mainly from international donors, added that “the private sector currently contributes about two per cent of total funds allocated to HIV.”
He, therefore, urged the private sector to do more toward funding programmes and initiatives to eradicate HIV in the country, asserting the readiness of Access Bank to support improved health system.
He said “Access Bank is not known for complacency. We are known for our drive for financial and economic growth for leadership in national health issues, particularly the national response to COVID-19.
“Access Bank had partnered other private sector organisations from the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA) to educate our staff and raise public awareness and support individuals living with HIV/AIDS.”
Wigwe expressed the commitment of the bank and other private sector organisations to ensure that mothers were tested and drugs provided to end mother to child transmission.
The Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said it was the responsibility of all to bring the number of persons living with virus to zero.
He added that the money to be realised from the launch of the HTFN would be channeled toward getting all pregnant women tested and treated.
He called on the private sector to work with the public sector at equal frequency to end the spread of HIV in the country.
The Managing Director, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr Osagie Okunbor, pledged the commitment of the oil company toward funding initiatives to end the scourge.