By Sola Ogundipe
As part of efforts to involve private sector involvement in Nigeria’s health sector, Telecoms Infrastructure Giant IHS Nigeria, a subsidiary of IHS Towers is contributing 60,000 rapid test kits to the Bayelsa State government to support the US Agency for International Development, USAID’s HIV/AIDS programme to eradicate HIV/AIDS in Bayelsa State.
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 Stephen M. Haykin who disclosed this at the signing ceremony, said the donation also shows the commitment of IHS Nigeria towards advancing HIV epidemic control measures in Bayelsa State.
“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,” Haykin said.
The 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 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.
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.