Dr Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc says ending HIV in Nigeria is possible when Nigerians take responsibility collectively.
Wigwe said this at the launch of 100 million dollars HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria in Abuja. He urged the private sector to rise up to the occasion by working in collaboration with government in area of ownership in sustaining the HIV response.
“However, the original emergency Plan to fight AIDS must transform into a Sustained Response that prevents new infections and ensures those on treatment stay on treatment.
“The era of sustainability demands that Africans take responsibility and ownership for
the end of AIDS in Africa,” he said.
Wigwe who said that Nigeria currently had the third largest HIV epidemic statistics worldwide, said over 80 per cent of the funding had been mainly from international donors. According to him, the Nigerian private sector currently contributes about 2% of total funds allocated to HIV.
He urged the private sector to collectively join hands in the ownership of the funding to eradicate HIV in Nigeria, asserting the readiness of Access bank to supporting improved health system.
“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, and we are known for our commitment to sustainability, especially relating to strengthening our national health system.
“With less than half of people living with HIV have access to treatment or adequate care, Access Bank partnered with other private sector organizations here from the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA)
“To educate our staff, raise public awareness and support individuals living with HIV/AIDS.”
Wigwe explained that the bank had also conceived of this national HIV Trustfund, as a N50 billion private sector-led mechanism to pool our resources to provide significant sustainable inputs required to scale up the impact of the AIDS response in Nigeria.
He expressed the commitment of Access bank and other private sectors to ensuring that mothers were tested and drugs provided to end mother to child transmission.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman of Dangote Group said that it was a collective responsibility of all to bring the number of persons living with HIV to zero.
Dangote said that the money to be realised in the launch would be channeled to getting all pregnant tested and treated. He called on the private sector to work with the public sector at equal frequency in to end HIV in Nigeria.
Mr Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director, Shell pledged commitment of Shell to the funding to ending HIV in Nigeria.