As the international community marks another World AIDS Day, American oil major. Chevron whose corporate social responsibility profile is on the rise has announced increases in its investment in the global fight against HIV and AIDS with a statement urging emphatic response to the disease.
On December 1, every year, the international community pauses to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, to demonstrate support for those living with HIV or AIDS, and to remember those who have died from the disease.
The day is also an opportunity for public and private partners to disseminate information about the status of the pandemic and to encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care around the world, particularly in high prevalence countries.
Since 1987 when the idea of a World AIDS Day was concepted by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, individuals, corporate organizations and governments rose in solidarity to confront what has emerged as a most challenging health scourge that defies age, race, tribe or religion.
The African continent is considered worst hit because according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), though the continent is home to only about 15.2 percent of the world’s population, sub-Saharan Africa alone accounted for an estimated 69 percent of all people living with HIV and 70 percent of all AIDS deaths in 2011.
The HIV/AIDS crisis threatens the health and stability of the society and its vitality. It disrupts families and destroys communities.
As part of its tradition of care, Chevron has since 1986, taken the lead in the fight against AIDS when it joined other U.S. Companies to promote education and reduce stigma in the workplace. And as part of this year’s commemoration, the company has announced that it would commit an additional $5 million over two years to The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to target the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in Nigeria which raises the company’s 8-year investment in the Global Fund to $60 million making it the single largest private sector partner to the organization.
Rhonda Zygocki, executive Vice President, Policy and Planning for Chevron Corporation said of its renewed commitment: “We recognize the deep interdependence of healthy businesses and a healthy society. Our continued partnership with the Global Fund reflects our long term commitment to investing in health, education and economic development initiatives that help build communities.”
Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director, Global Fund, applauded the Chevron initiative saying; “Chevron has shown commendable leadership in the fight against infectious diseases….with shared responsibility and strong partnerships with governments, civil society and private sector players like Chevron, we will defeat these deadly diseases. Chevron’s strong support helps bring us ever closer to this historic opportunity.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) chose “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths” as the theme for 2011-2015 but the focus for this year’s campaign is improving access to prevention, treatment and care services for adolescents (10-19 years), a group that continues to be vulnerable despite efforts so far.
This is in alignment with the focus of Chevron’s campaign in Nigeria and other countries where it has had a strong presence since the 1990s.
The company took the campaign beyond the workplace where it had established the reputation of being the first energy company to institute a global HIV and AIDS policy supporting employees and families to the communities and Nigerian universities.
Its campaign was anchored on increasing awareness of the disease through health education, that highlighted risk reduction and prevention strategies , as well as encouraging HIV counseling, testing and referral ,, with programs for employees, families and communities within and beyond its operation areas. It also provides funding and other support for student clubs to raise awareness and to conduct pre- and post-intervention surveys and analyses.
These activities have not escaped the attention of the Federal Government leading to the appointment of the company’s Managing Director as co-chairman of the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCAA) when it was formed In February 2003.
The Coalition is the voice of the private sector response to HIV/AIDS in Nigeria on the premise that businesses have collective leadership role to play in the wide multi-sectoral response to HIV/AIDS.
NIBUCAA is being led by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) ( We need to crosscheck the actual relationship of NIBUCCA with NACA).
According to Mr. Andrew Fawthrop, Chairman and Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), the company remains committed to identifying with the Federal Government’s commitment to the pursuit of higher standard of health for Nigerians especially as exemplified in the fight against HIV, TB, Malaria and other infectious diseases.
“Africa, including Nigeria, has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in the world. This poses a significant risk to our employees, their families, the communities in which we operate and, ultimately, our business. At Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), we want to do our part to halt the spread of the disease and the human suffering it creates,” he said.