The Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA) has urged government at all levels, organisations and other stakeholders to invest in HIV/AID prevention, saying this will help in ending the epidemic in Nigeria.
Stating this position recently in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, the Executive Secretary of NiBUCAA, Mr Gbenga Alabi, stated that such investment constituted good business sense with huge returns on investment.
Alabi, who spoke during the Total in Nigeria-NiBUCAA Community HIV/AIDS, TB & Malaria Preventive Education Project, said the public-private partnership project in Ogun State was another opportunity for Total in Nigeria to demonstrate her corporate sense of investment in Nigeria.
He said: “The three great pandemics of our time, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (ATM), should and must be seen as a global development concern of human developments and its devastating impact on affecting all demographic indicators such as life expectancy at birth, healthcare, health, age and sex distribution.
“Economic indicators such as income, workforce, economic growth, education and other indicators need intervention from the private and governance are affected and therefore all hands need to be on deck. Alabi said enterprises in the private sector should work hand-in-hand with the government to address the growing challenges because of human resources.
“Total in Nigeria, through her strategic partnership with NiBUCAA, has taken the bull by the horn through their resolve to address HIV/AIDS, side-by-side with Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Group, through this project has imbibed and is implementing the principles of Public-Private Partnership with a view to enhancing the quality of lives of their host communities in the face of the three easily preventable pandemics.”
He said 27 Total Service Station employees comprising 13 males and 14 females, including 10 others who are members of the Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, NEPWAN, and ASHWAN were also trained as peer educators.
In a joint address, the Managing Director Total Nigeria Plc., Imrane Barry and the Managing Director, Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria, Mr Mike Sangster, said the watchword in the fight against HIV/AIDS was prevention. “Our fight against HIV/AIDS is a fight to protect our host communities, employees, families, organisations and society at large from the infection.”
This initiative has been adopted by the Total Group as an essential component of our Group’s Sustainable Development Policy and has been fully integrated into our global strategy.
“For us, the watchword is prevention which is far less expensive and less complicated than cure. Today the only known “cure” for HIV/AIDS is prevention. In the light of this we are confident that with consistent efforts geared towards prevention, we can indeed have a near HIV/AIDS society.
“Total commenced this project in 2006 and has reached 23 states. The project involves the training of Peers Educators who will create awareness among the public. The Peer Educators have been trained on the global approach to the management of HIV/AIDS-associated illnesses like TB, Hepatitis B and malaria,” they asserted,” they said.