As part of its efforts to involve private sector involvement in Nigeria’s health sector, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) accepted a contribution from a leading telecommunications infrastructure firm IHS Nigeria to support USAID’s activities to eradicate HIV and AIDS in Bayelsa State.
IHS Nigeria, a subsidiary of the international telecommunications infrastructure provider IHS Towers, will contribute 60,000 rapid test kits to the Bayelsa state government through USAID’s HIV/AIDS program. The kits will specifically be used to test young women and children to prevent mother-to-child transmission and help health clinics improve antenatal services.
“This collaboration is a great example of USAID’s new approach of engaging the private sector to help Nigeria develop local solutions to solve local problems,” USAID Mission Director Stephen M. Haykin said at a signing ceremony today. “The donation also shows the commitment of IHS Nigeria to social responsibility, in this case advancing HIV epidemic control measures in Bayelsa State.”
At the signing, Chief Executive Officer Mohamad Darwish said IHS Nigeria’s contribution to HIV control in Bayelsa underscores the company’s support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through its sustainability programs.
“As this contribution coincides with World AIDS Day, we hope this assistance to the state health system in Bayelsa through USAID will help encourage other organizations to pursue strategic partnerships beneficial to their respective communities,” Darwish said.
In 2018, USAID tested over two million people for HIV, and funded treatment for nearly 80 percent of the 69,000 identified as positive. USAID also provides more than 285,000 HIV-positive Nigerians with lifesaving therapy and continues to provide health agencies test kits and medicines, as well as support more than half a million children orphaned or otherwise affected by HIV.