By Martins Ifijeh
In commemoration of Valentine’s Day celebration, RB Durex partnered with United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) through the donation of 100,000 units of condoms to improve the sexual health and well-being of Nigerians. This is in line with the company’s continuous commitment to being a socially responsible organisation.
The aim, according to the organisers was to cover Reproductive Health Education and increase access to condoms by opening new channels and reaching consumers previously unreached.
At the 2017 Worlds Aid Day, the Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu, revealed that, since the first case of HIV was reported in Nigeria in 1986, about 1.5 million deaths and over five million new HIV infections have been averted. “HIV prevalence has also been reduced from a peak of 5.8 per cent in 2001 to 3.0 per cent in 2014 while new HIV infections have been reduced by 56 per cent and annual AIDS related death by 22 per cent in the last six years.”
Speaking at HIV/AIDS awareness forum in Abuja, Marketing Director, RB, West Africa, Ms. Aliza Leferink, stated that RB, NACA and UNAIDs collaboration between the organisations will help enforce the sexual and reproductive health agenda in Nigeria, by providing strategic directions, advocacy, coordination’s and technical support needed to Nigerians.
“We are celebrating the collaboration with NACA and INAIDS by donating 100,000 condoms, in the journey to eradicating HIV in Nigeria. “Our vision is good sex for everybody and protected and safe sex, as well as enjoyable sex. With regards to protection, Durex, apart from donating condoms, has series of sexual health education campaign, using various media platforms to educate and improve sexual health of Nigerians.”
Commenting on the new cases of HIV infections in Nigeria, Mr. Richard Amenyah, Global Fund Implementation Adviser, UNAIDS, said on a daily basis, there are about 5,000 new HIV infections globally, out of which Nigeria contributes about 700 new infections in the country everyday. Amenyah also added that Nigeria has the biggest HIV burden in West and Central Africa, representing about 53 per cent of the burden in the sub-region, while it contributed about 60 per cent of new infections in the region in 2016.
He said: ”Definitely we need to do something about this issue, because that is the only way we can end the AIDS epidemic in Nigeria. This is an issue for us, that we need to be able to work with the government of Nigeria; work with civil societies; work with the private sector to try and reduce this HIV burden on this country. That is why we are associating ourselves with all opportunities to reduce new infections in the country. “We want to encourage the private sector that they have a role to play in support of government. Government cannot do it all. Private sector needs to come on board, just as RB Durex has actually come on board to provide 100,000 condoms. This is 100,000 sexual acts that are protected. We know there are unprotected sex going on in Nigeria, and that is why new infections are going up.”
Mr. Bayode Akanbi, Senior Brand Manager (Healthcare) RB, also reiterated, Durex commitment to support UNAIDS and NACA in the fight against HIV/AIDS through Education and increasing accessibility to condoms in Nigeria.
Over the years, RB has been at the forefront for cause-related initiatives that further the progress of Nigeria on UN Sustainable Development Goals such as reduction in infant mortality from preventable diseases such as diarrhea and malaria, improved public health and sanitation from reduced open defecation problem and now partnering to reduce HIV related deaths. Its brands, which are popular household names such as Dettol, Mortein and Harpic, have active partnerships with Federal Ministry of Health (MoH), Save the Children (STC), Nigerian Medical Association which worked to educate new mothers, school children and reach LGAs like Shomolu in Lagos to promote good healthy habits like hand washing and to build a healthier nation.