How Airtel is Supporting Campaign against HIV/AIDS – NACA DG

Legal Director & Company Secretary, Airtel Nigeria, Gbenga Rotimi; Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya and Country Director, UNAIDS, Dr. Bilali Camara during the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between UNAIDS and Airtel to eliminate Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV in Nigeria, at the Corporate Headquarters of Airtel Nigeria, yesterday, in Lagos

Lagos, Nigeria; Thursday, February 19th, 2015: The Director General of the National Agency for Control of Aids (NACA), Professor John Idoko, has showered encomiums on leading telecommunications services provider, Airtel Nigeria, for its leading role in providing practical, relevant and continuous assistance in the fight against the dreaded HIV/AIDS.
Speaking yesterday (Thursday, February 18th, 2015) at the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between UNAIDS and Airtel to eliminate Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV in Nigeria, Idoko described Airtel as a trusted, reliable and committed partner that has stood resolutely behind NACA since 2005 when the Agency first launched a call centre to assist people living with HIV/AIDS.
Narrating how Airtel has been supporting NACA, Idoko who was represented by the Director, Resource Mobilization, National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), Dr. Emmanuel Alhassan, said “it was in 2005 when we first partnered with Airtel to activate hotlines (interactive telecommunications platform) with the sole intention of providing both guidance and counseling to Nigerians vis-à-vis HIV/AIDS and other related health issues. 
“Back then in 2005, we rolled out what could be termed a pilot National Call Contact Centre. And the experiment was extremely successful: the public literally went agog as feedback/responses poured in on the pilot project.
“In 2012, Airtel also provided the network backbone for our ultra-modern call centre, which was commissioned by the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. The facility, which is fitted with toll free lines and has capacity, to process calls from about 30 callers simultaneously is currently offering Nigerians irrespective of their location access to accurate information and benefit from public enlightenment on HIV&AIDS and other diseases such as Tuberculosis and Malaria,” he said.
Idoko also recalled how Airtel ‘painted the town red’ during the 2005 edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), saying that the telco did not just add immense value to the international conference but made it colourful and classy. 
The NACA boss noted that it, therefore, did not come as a surprise when Airtel indicated its interest to partner with UNAIDS to eliminate Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV in Nigeria. 
The UNAIDS and Airtel partnership sealed through a Memorandum of Understanding will allow the Telco’s subscribers to benefit from information on how and where to access prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services in Nigeria. The information shall be disseminated through innovative and regular text messages.
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, said the partnership will provide Airtel with a new opportunity to deepen its commitment to touching the lives of Nigerians positively, especially in the area of quality healthcare services delivery. 
“At Airtel, we have a track record of supporting and empowering young people, who are the future leaders of our country. We have adopted and built schools for children; provided several interventions in the area of healthcare for hundreds of kids while our Touching Lives programme has even offered us a more elaborate platform to reach and connect with underprivileged children. 
“Indeed, Airtel is intensely interested in impacting society positively as this underscores our corporate philosophy of becoming the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians,” he said.
Also speaking on the partnership, Dr. Bilali Camara, UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria and the UNAIDS Focal Point for the ECOWAS, said: “Eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV and keeping their mother alive do not only improve the wellbeing of children and their mothers. They impact positively on the general maternal and child survival.”