The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is partnering with telecommunications firm, Etisalat Nigeria on the campaign for the control of AIDS in Nigeria. The partnership, the Nation learnt, will enable Etisalat subscribers to enjoy and benefit from regular text messages on how and where to access prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Nigeria. Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Etisalat, Ibrahim Dikko said the company was glad to partner with UNAIDS and NACA for the project recognizing that a nation can only be economically buoyant if it has a healthy population.

Dikko said; “Thus the company is committed to building, by attacking its most deadly threats, one of which is HIV/AIDS. We are joining hands with these strategic and effective organisations, and together we will drive the promotion of life and health, for Nigerians in general, persons living with HIV, and children as yet unborn.” On his part, Director General, NACA, Prof. John Idoko, said the initiative “is bound to avail more avenues of stopping new HIV infections in Nigeria.”

UNAIDS is partnering with Etisalat Nigeria to support the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), other government departments and the Civil Society to boost Nigeria’s efforts to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV as a result of a Global Plan launched in July 2011 at the United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS. Nigeria, which represented 30% of the burden of mother-to-child transmission of HIV globally in 2013, unveiled the National Operational Plan for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in November 2014 to jump-start the implementation of similar efforts in the country.

Bilali Camara, Country Director for UNAIDS Nigeria, stated that ending the HIV epidemic among children in Nigeria by 2020 will result in preventing 240,000 new HIV infections among children and an additional 460,000 new HIV infections among adults. In all, we are looking at preventing 340,000 AIDS-related deaths and a net benefit of 30 billion United States dollars, with 12 million life-years gained.

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