No fewer than 10,000 persons have been screened for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by the Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria and Total Nigeria PLC in partnership with Nigeria Business Against AIDS (NIBUCAA) in Onitsha, Anambra state.
However, 22 persons have been trained from Total Service Stations as Peer Education on basic facts on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria were drawn from 10 service stations in Onitsha to continue with the exercise even after the two weeks screen period.
In his key note address at the official launch of the programme in Onitsha yesterday, Managing Director of Total Nigeria PLC Mr. Jean Phillipe-Torres and Managing Director of Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria represented by Executive Director (Strategy) Dr. Jeff Nnamani said that the programme was for its social responsibility of the companies.
He said that the exercise began since 2006 and had gone to 20 states across the country including the federal Capital territory, Abuja, saying that free VCT has been deployed in various locations across Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, Ekwuluobia and Ihiala in Anambra since May 15 to end on May29, 2017.
According to Nnamani, “Total group in Nigeria with her partners-NNPC/NAPIMS over the past 11 years has consistently made concerted effort under the public private partnership (PPP) initiative at responding to the HIV /AIDS pandemic in Nigeria. The Total Group is committed to positively impact on the lives of Nigeria’s through health education on preventive measure and awareness creation on HIV/AIDS management”.
“Our fight against HIV/AIDS is a fight to protect our host communities, employees, families, organizations and society at large from the infection. This initiative has been adopted by the total group as an essential component of our Group’s Sustainable Development policy and has been fully integrated into our global strategy”.
“For us, the watchword is prevention which is far less expensive and less complicated than cure. Today, the only known cure for HIV/AIDS is prevention . In light of this, we are confident that with consistent efforts geared towards prevention, we can indeed have a near HIV/AIDS-free society” he stated.
The Acting Executive Secretary, Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCCA) Mr. Gbenga Alabi in his address expressed happiness to have forged a synergy with Total Group since 2006 to help in achieving the lofty goals for which the body was set up.He said that the World over in the last three decades has faced with HIV/AIDS, a public health issue that has threatened and still threatening the fundamentals of human development especially in developing countries which include Nigeria.
Alabi noted that since the first incidence of the pandemic, an estimated 78 million people have become infected with HIV and 35 million people have died of AIDS related illnesses, saying that the current HIV prevalence in Nigeria was 3.0%.
“This is the second visit to Anambra state,mother first visit was in 2013 when three automated laboratory equipment (CD four machines, semi-chemistry analyzer and semi-hematology analyzer) were donated to Aliyi-Enugu Mission Hospital, Ogidi which is now a comprehensive treatment centre” Alabi stated.
“This year project is keying into the United Nations 90-90-90 strategy aimed at providing opportunity for people to know their HIV status. You may not believe it, but around 40% of the people with HIV are unaware of their infection. The only way to determine a persons HIV status is for them to have an HIV test” he stated.
Also in their remarks, the representatives of the Petroleum Investment Management Service (NAPIMS) Ms. Mena Ogor and Commissioner of Anambra state Commissioner for Health Dr. Joe Akabuike commended Total group for the project geared towards preventing the HIV/ AIDS and other diseases.
The highpoint of the programme was presentation of the 22 trained Peer Educators of the Total stations with the certificates and cultural dance and drama presentation on HIV/AIDS.