As part of its continued effort to create awareness on the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDS) in Nigeria and Africa, Access Bank carried out sensitisation and testing exercises through the week of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon 2020.
During the Marathon Expo which held from February 3th – 7th, free HIV tests were carried out on 2,192 people, with an additional 989 people tested on the race day. The scheme encompassed both marathoners and the general public.
The Group Managing Director of Access Bank and co-Chairman of the Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA), Herbert Wigwe stressed the need for continued education on the diseases, urging the public to be aware of their HIV status and pay closer attention to the causative factors.
“The HIV disease has been a scourge on the Nigerian, and indeed, African society over the last few years. Hence, Access Bank, in collaboration with some of our partners, have decided to use the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon as a springboard to sensitize as many people as we can. Throughout the week, we have carried out free testing, because it is only when we are armed with requisite information that we can lead better lives.”
“Access Bank remains committed to continually impacting communities we serve through the elimination of environmental and economic issues and by investing in activities that have a strong impact on the social structure of these communities,” Wigwe said.
Participants at the marathon were also educated on parasitic and infections, including River Blindness, Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis), Trachoma, Intestinal worms and Schistosomiasis (Snail Fever).
The Head of Sustainability, Access Bank, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, went further to laud the efforts of the corporate sector in increasing HIV sensitization saying, “The effect of the private sector and collaborative bodies such as NiBUCAA has been felt across the continent as the quest for HIV eradication intensifies. Going forward, we also call on other organisations to emulate us in carrying out community impact projects, as this will help in our bid to achieve a far-reaching and more sustainable impact”.
The exercise, which was implemented in partnership with the Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA), Hacey’s Health Initiative and The END Fund, is also aimed at driving awareness and advocacy for NTDs. NTDs are a group of bacterial and parasitic diseases affecting more than 1.7 billion of the world’s population. In Nigeria, about 131 million people are said to be in need of treatment for at least one Neglected Tropical Disease.
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