By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank, recently offered free voluntary HIV testing for its members of staff.
This was part of activities marking the 2016 World AIDS Day held on December 1.
Ecobank Group CEO, Mr Ade Ayeyemi, and several members of senior management were among staff who volunteered to take the test.
According to Mr Ayeyemi, “Effectively tackling HIV remains one of Africa’s most pressing public health challenges. As a leading pan-African bank with the largest footprint in the middle of Africa, Ecobank has a leadership responsibility to join hands with the world to end this epidemic for good. Knowing one’s status is an important step in the battle to end AIDS.”
Board members of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of the group, also joined the company’s employees to participate in the global “Hands up for #HIVprevention” campaign organised by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The campaign explores different aspects of HIV prevention and encourages people to express their views on what needs to be done to strengthen prevention efforts.
Two-thirds of all HIV-positive individuals, about 25 million, are in Africa.
Ecobank, through the Ecobank Foundation, has been at the forefront of fighting the epidemic on the continent. In September 2016, the Ecobank Foundation renewed its partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, committing an additional $3 million to end the epidemics for good.
The partnership’s programmes have put millions of people on antiretroviral treatment for HIV, provided tuberculosis treatment and distributed millions of mosquito nets to protect families from malaria.
Ecobank Foundation CEO Julie Essiam said: “On this World AIDS Day, we reaffirm our commitment to sustain the fight against HIV/AIDS. Health remains a key determinant of prosperity, and a major enabler for the transformation of our continent. If Africa is to thrive, we must fight the HIV/AIDs epidemic and #EndItforGood together.”
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