Monday, 30 November 2015

World AIDS Day 2015: Red Ribbon Coalition to Provide Free Counselling & Testing Across Nigeria

To mark World AIDS Day 2015, the Red Ribbon Coalition, an alliance of strategic NGOs and private sector partners in Nigeria, has concluded plans to directly provide free HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) services for about 7500 persons and reach over 3.5million people with correct, up-to-date HIV/AIDS information.

Plans to actualise these include a four-day community outreach in various LGAs across Nigeria beginning from Tuesday December 1, and a grand finale on Saturday December 5 with a Celebrity Novelty HIV/AIDS awareness football match at UNILAG Sports Complex, Akoka, Lagos featuring ex-Super Eagles’ players. Other plans include stimulation of a broader stakeholders involvement, and various impactful activities targeted at reaching many Nigerians with free HIV/AIDS services to mark this year’s event which is venerated globally on December 1.

L-R: Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Sam Umukoro; Executive Director, Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative, Anuoluwa Ishola; Convener 2015 Nigerian Red Ribbon Coalition and Community Affairs Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Emeka Mba; HIV AIDS Specialist, Society for Family Health, Lagos, Emmanuel Olaoti; and Executive Secretary, Youth Empowerment Foundation, Iwalola Akin-Jimoh at the 2015 World AIDS Day Pre-Campaign Media Parley organized by the Nigerian Red Ribbon Coalition in Lagos, recently.
The coalition which is chiefly funded by global beverage giant, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and MAC AIDS Fund (Makers of MAC Cosmetics), comprises three NGOs including Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI), Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF) and Society for Family Health (SFH); private partners like Owu Sportswear, Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCAA), the media, ex-Super Eagles stars, among several others.  

On the need for an alliance against HIV/AIDS, the coalition’s convener, Emeka Mba who is also the Community Affairs Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited , said: “In addition to mobilizing and sensitizing people to know their status with the provision of free HCT in a friendly environment we are poised to tackle issues of stigmatization, discrimination and fear of getting tested by promoting social inclusion and adequate care for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and stimulating Stakeholders involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”


“We also want to reach about 3.5milion people with correct, up-to-date HIV/AIDS information via various platforms, while covering the area of Prevention of Mother-to-child Transmission, PMTCT. A pan-Nigeria coalition that will leverage on each party’s strength and network is no doubt a better way of pushing back the scourge. Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited is committed to building partnerships that promote development and growth, actively participating in activities that bring social equity to the table.” He added.

YEDI’s Executive Director, Anu Ishola noted that the star-studded Red Ribbon Novelty match which will feature ex-Super Eagles stars like Emmanuel Babayaro, Peter Rufai, Celestine Babayaro, Kanu Nwankwo, Victor Ikpeba and OAPs among others will provide an environment conducive to a large turnout of young people to access free HCT services while being treated to a rare but entertaining game of soccer alongside music, light refreshment and other fun activities. 

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