USAID Welcomes Firm’s Support to Eradicate HIV/AIDS in Bayelsa

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Rebecca Ejifoma

As part of efforts to involve private sector in Nigeria’s healthcare, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has accepted contributions from a leading telecommunications infrastructure firm, IHS Nigeria, to support its activities in eradicating HIV/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 programme.

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.

USAID Mission Director, Mr. Stephen M. Haykin said at a signing ceremony, “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.”

He added that the donation also shows the commitment of IHS Nigeria to social responsibility, in this case advancing HIV epidemic control measures in Bayelsa State.

The Chief Executive Officer, Mr. 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 programmes.

“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 organisations to pursue strategic partnerships beneficial to their respective communities,” Darwish said.

As shown in 2018, USAID said it 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, as well as test kits and medicines for health agencies.