The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and MTN- Nigeria’s leading telecoms operator, have provided HIV testing services to 210 residents of Keffi, in Nasarawa state.
Other Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that joined in the partnership included Brother Across Nigeria (BAN) and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
Keffi, one of the largest towns in Nasarawa state is just a few minutes’ drive to Abuja city centre.
The HIV testing services were provided as part of the celebration of the 2018 World AIDS Day, which is with the theme: ‘Know your status’.
Responding to questions, the president of Brother Across Nigeria (BAN), Adewale Odusanya, noted that the partnership between his NGO and other agencies was aimed at ensuring that all Nigerians engage in periodic testing for HIV to enable them know their status and to also support government’s effort in halting the spread of the disease.
“As it is now, there are a couple of things that we cannot just leave to the government alone. As citizens, we need to take certain responsibilities. As corporate bodies, as association, we have to take certain responsibilities.
“This is what prompted BAN Kubwa chapter, in conjunction with Keffi and Northern Region chapters to come together with AHF, NACA, MTN to bring this outreach to mark World AIDS Day,” he stressed.
On her part, the Sales Representative of MTN in Keffi, Elizabeth Atseu, said: “We are interested in the well-being of the nation and the people where we find ourselves. We are particularly interested in HIV because it touches the youth. We have a lot of products, the bulk of our markets are the youth.
“More than 50 percent of Nigerians are youth. So, we are really interested.
“We see it as part of giving back to the community. We take it as one of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to enlighten the community that we find ourselves, on the potential hazard it could have, if HIV continues to spread unabated.”
Meanwhile, Nasarawa state Site Coordinate for AHF, Dr Azihaiwe Austin, noted that his organization was inspired by the fact the event was organized to ginger the people to know their status.
According to him: “We are here to commemorate the World AIDS Day by making sure people know their status. So, we are mobilizing people to get themselves tested.
“Those who are negative will remain negative by making sure they protect themselves and those who are positive will make sure they get the right treatment.”