Chevron partners Bayelsa Govt on HIV/AIDS

Chevron logo01 July 2014, Yenagoa – Attempt by the Bayelsa State Government to curb the spread of  HIV/AIDS in the state has received a boost as the Nigerian unit of America’s oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, has donated about $1.7million to battle the scourge in the predominantly riverine state.

In spite of Bayelsa being listed as the least populated state in the federation, the National HIV zero-prevalence sentinel survey of 2010, placed the oil and gas rich state as the third highest in Nigeria with 9.1 per cent prevalent rate. It follows Benue State (12.7 per cent) and Akwa Ibom State (10.9 per cent).

Prior to Chevron’s intervention, the State Director of Public Health, Dr. Wakiente Omubo, had hinted that about N8bn was needed to effectively tackle the scourge.

Omubo spoke at a PROMOT project expansion launch held in Yenagoa, the state capital, which also had in attendance persons living with HIV/AIDS in the state.

He said 6,072 pregnant women were living with HIV/AIDS in the state.

Giving a breakdown of the prevalence rate of the infection according to the local government areas, he said Brass has 7.6%; Ekeremor 9.1%; Kolokuma-Opokuma 9.1%; and Ogbia 9.1%. Others are Nembe 9.1%; Yeangoa 8.7%; Sagbama 12.7%; and Southern Ijaw, the largest council area in the state 3.5%.

The state was indeed looking for help to tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic when Chevron presented itself as a friend by investing $1.7million to battle the scourge.

Making the donation known at the launch of the expanded PROMOT project also known as the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) in Yenagoa, the Chairman/Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Andrew Fawthrop, said the gesture is aimed at reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS virus in the state.

Represented by the Area Manager, Mr. Joe Jakpa, the Chevron boss said prior to the company’s intervention, only a quarter of 98,000 pregnant women had access to ante-natal care.

This, he said, prompted the company to partner with PACT, state government, and other agencies to contribute in eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS in the state.

According to him, the partnership, which started in 2012, was part of the company’s $20million United Nations millennium goal commitment to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS in 2015.

The collaboration, he further explained, has helped to reach more than 6,500 people with awareness prevention information, tested more than 7000 women during pre-natal and arrange for HIV counseling for nearly 700 people. He said the company was proud to expand its partnership with PACT by raising its five year investment for the PROMOT project to $5.3million.

The additional funding support of $1.7million, he added, will facilitate the expansion of the PROMOT project to all local government areas in the state.

“Chevron is proud to expand our partnership with PACT to support impactful initiative like PROMOT. This is a proven model that we are motivated to expand as we work together to deliver real, measurable results towards ending mother-to-child transmission,” he said.

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– Vanguard

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