Chevron announced today at the 2012 International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) a partnership initiative with Pact, the Business Leadership Council (BLC), mothers2mothers and the Global Fund to aggressively combat crisis-level mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Nigeria, Angola and South Africa.
“We must intensify our collective efforts to meet the serious challenges to eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV head-on,” said Rhonda Zygocki, Executive Vice President, Policy and Planning for Chevron. “We are mobilizing resources and strategic partners with specialized expertise to address critical issues facing Nigeria, Angola and South Africa in order to move toward an HIV-free generation by 2015.”
The risk of mother-to-child transmission is an unfortunate reality in these countries. In Nigeria, approximately 75,000 babies are born with HIV each year, and most of these infections are due to transmission from their mothers. In South Africa, the country has the largest number of people living with HIV in the world, and approximately 30 percent of pregnant women were HIV-positive in 2009. Additionally in Angola, where more than 60 percent of the population is under 25 years old, an estimated 15 percent of the country’s HIV cases are caused by mother-to-child transmission.
“As a company, we depend on a healthy society and healthy workforce,” Zygocki said. “With HIV/AIDS disproportionately affecting women in Africa, it is critical that we come together in the fight against this disease. At Chevron, we recognize prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV as both a critical intervention for the families of our employees and the communities where they work, as well as a realistic approach to the elimination of HIV entirely.”
The PMTCT partnership areas of focus include:
- Pact: Build the capacity of civil society organizations to increase PMTCT practices in Nigeria’s Bayelsa State through education, raising awareness and reducing stigma.
- BLC: Support the government of Nigeria to develop and implement models for accelerated PMTCT delivery over the next two years.
- mothers2mothers: Lay the groundwork to establish its Mentor Mother model in Nigeria during the next 18 months.
- The Global Fund: Advance PMTCT programs targeting Angola and South Africa.
This partnership is part of the $20 million commitment made by Chevron in June 2011 at the United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS to support the global plan to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keep their mothers alive.