*donates HIV kits to schools in Lagos
Total Upstream Nig. Ltd., has reiterated its total commitment towards sustainable awareness campaign on HIV/AIDS among adolescents in secondary schools across the country.
Mr Nicolas Terraz, the Managing Director, Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria gave the assurance during the official launching of the school-based project on HIV/AIDS awareness campaign for secondary school in Lagos on Thursday.
Terraz who was represented by the General Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development, Dr Charles Ngeribara said that the essence of the programme was to sanitised adolescents in very secondary school on the need to be more cautious of the menace called “HIV/AIDS’’.
Total has also provided HIV tool kits for five schools, namely, Oshodi Comprehensive School, Bolade Senior High school, Oshodi Senior High School Ikeja Grammar School and Unity Senior High School to be used as reference materials to educate others.
He said that December 1st of every year is marked globally as the World AIDS Day, hence the date for this campaign could not have been better chosen, adding that the theme for the 2018 World AIDS Day is, “Know Your Status”.
According to him, Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria connects to this, by bringing this awareness campaign to your school this year. We encourage voluntary HIV counseling and testing for all Nigerians and non-Nigerians living in Nigeria to ensure that everyone knows their status.
“We also believe that students of your age need to be aware of the disease because we believe that with knowledge comes the ability to take informed decisions to protect yourselves, your families and your communities against HIV/AIDS.
“Over the years, HIV/AIDS has been more than a major global health crisis, but the disease has also become a real development challenge especially for developing nations where young people, who are the most productive segment of the population, remain at risk.
“ It is quite disturbing that, up till now, prevalence rates remain high due to the negligence and ignorance of the public,’’ he said.
The managing director said that Total, as a company, makes effort to identify with its host communities and with Nigeria as a whole, adding that not only to give back to society in fulfillment of our Corporate Social Responsibility obligations, but because it’s also truly believe that when Nigeria prospers, Total prospers too.
“To reduce the impact of this disease, we join the United Nations and the World Health Organisation as part of a broad-based coalition that is leading the fight against HIV/AIDS. It is for this reason that Total extends its annual HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign to Secondary Schools.
“The Youth are mainly vulnerable to HIV infection, especially where they are ignorant and engage in risky behaviors such as drug abuse, cult activities, blood rituals, sexual exposures whether by informed choices or rape, etc.
According to the WHO, prevention is not only better than cure, but cheaper and prevents complications. Total agrees with the WHO and believes that the youths have a great role to play in heightening awareness and the prevention of this pandemic.
Terraz said that Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria and its partners will continue to collaborate with government at all levels, non-governmental organisations and the private sector, to educate the public on the preventive measures to mitigate the spread of this disease.
“I therefore encourage everyone here today to take the message from this campaign to your homes, friends, families, school-mates and communities. HIV/AIDS is real and will continue to destroy our communities is we do not adopt behavioral changes that prevent its spread.
Mr Roland Ewubare, the Group General Manger, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NIPIMS) expressed commitment towards supporting effective and rewarding HIV/AIDS awareness campaign across the Federation.
Ewubare who was represented by Mrs Olunbumi Lawson expressed sincere appreciation to Total and its partners on effective partnering with the Lagos State government and other stakeholders in creating awareness to secondary school students on the HIV/AIDS.
According to him, NNPC/Total decision to carry out the campaign on HIV/AIDS in secondary scholls is in line with our company’s goal to give back to the society which we operate and touch their lives in many positive ways.
“Over time, NNPC along with its joint ventures has implemented various projects in the area of education, (building of classrooms, laboratories blocks, books, scholarship, quiz competitions ) skill acquisition, economic empowerment, , health care, water and sanitation, solar power and other infrastructural intervention.
“HIV/AIDS is a disease whose prevalence shows no sign of abating. The most effective form of prevention is awareness, in view of this, it has became imperative for us to focus on its education as a tool to spread the awareness.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (Nibucaa), Mr Gbenga Alabi said that it has became imperative to engage and support adolescents to creating effective awareness on HIV/AIDS as their the future of the country.
Alabi said that the programme would develop assertiveness and life building skill particularly in the girl child, adding that the Non-governmental organization is planning towards establishing anti-AIDS clubs in secondary school for effective participation coverage and sustainability.
He commended Total management who has sustained commitment and support to deepen conversation and extend narratives on promoting the wellbeing of adolescents and youths in our societies.
Dr Oluseyi Tenowo, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State AIDS Control Agency said that the agency is working towards ensuring that HIV/AIDS awareness is included in the school curriculum.
Tenowo who was represented by Dr Olaosebikan Folasade, however, expressed their readiness to partner with corporate organiosation in creating more awareness towards eradicating HIV/AIDS in the state.
According to him, it’s about time we gather school in Lagos State to educate students on the important of HIV/AIDS awareness.
“We are also supporting organization towards enlightenment campaign and materials towards sensitating teeming youths across the schools because we realized that lots of our adolescent and youths are ignorance of the diseases.