Chevron, a multi-national oil company, has committed $1.4m (about N504m) to prevent the transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from mothers to their newborn babies in Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
This was disclosed on Thursday at the inauguration of the second phase of the community-based Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS project, ‘PROMOT II,’ in Yenagoa by an international non-governmental organisation, Partners Combine Together (PACT).
The PROMOT II project is expected to test over 2,000 pregnant women from three local government areas in the state for HIV as well as build the capacity of community structures of governance to achieve healthcare performance.
The Nigeria’s Director of PACT, Mr. Trevor Maisiri, said the United States-based organisation has been working with the Bayelsa State Government with funding from Chevron, to increase community awareness of the dreaded disease.
According to the Director, PACT’s integrated approach of capacity development and support/strengthening of government systems is a sustainable, community-based programme worth initiating as it would continue to build PROMOT services beyond the life span of the project.
Maisiri said, “In the first phase, which lasted for four years, 294,000 persons were reached with HIV messages, over 50,000 pregnant women tested for HIV and received their results, while almost 700 pregnant women were placed on anti-retroviral prophylaxis.
“Over 670 people have so far been trained in the latest Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission approaches and techniques, just as over 300 HIV exposed infants were tested for HIV at six weeks.
General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Deji Haastrup, who spoke on the occasion, described PROMOT I as a huge success. According to him, the project helped in the reduction of Bayelsa State’s prevalence rate from 9.1 per cent to 3.8 per cent in 2010, the third best in Nigeria.
PROMOT II is projected to run for two years until April 2018.