Access Bank Partners Friends Africa on Sustainable Health Financing

By The Citizen

Africa's most respected Bank, Access Bank in partnership with Friends of the Global Fund Africa (Friends Africa) a Pan-African non-governmental organisation is today hosting a high- level stakeholder Engagement Forum tagged: Sustainable Health Financing In Nigeriain Abuja. This was contained in a statement issued by the Bank over the weekend.

According to the Bank's Group Managing Director, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, 'the Bank is committed sustainably to the eradication of the AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, this informed the initial donation of $1million to the Global Fund to fight this pandemic and the partnership of the Bank with Friends Africa to host the Sustainable Health Financing Forum in Nigeria.

Aig stressed that the Global Fund’s “Gift from Africa project” was designed to “provide the African private sector with an opportunity to provide responsible leadership and demonstrate to the world that Africans are prepared to play an active part in solving the continent’s challenges.”

The Bank boss observed that through the advocacy effort of the organisation, “over one million Africans are now on ARV therapy, 2.8 million on tuberculosis treatment and 30 million bed nets distributed to protect the people against malaria.” Friends Africa’s dreams, he says, aligns with Access Bank’s corporate goals on community service, which is directed at taking succour to the less privileged by investing in local communities.

Access Bank became the first African private sector company to invest in the Global Fund programme under the organisation’s collaboration with African private sector in the fight against the three deadly diseases. “The Gift from Africa project provides the bank with an opportunity to lead other African private sector institutions and demonstrate to the world that Africans are prepared to share the responsibility for solving Africa’s challenges,” the bank boss said of the motivation for the gesture.

Speaking on the Forum, Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, 'double-digit declines in mortality from the three diseases could be jeopardized if donors fail to top up the fund. Friends Africa is committed to financing of prevention and treatment of the AIDS virus and other global killers will use the forum platform to urge top donors to provide an additional $15 billion (€11.5 billion) to fight infectious diseases over the next three years or risk reversing a decade of advances in care.

The Executive Director noted that threatened cuts to international development budgets make his sales pitch harder but added that unfortunately, infectious diseases don't pay much attention to budget cycles.  Friends of the Global Fund Africa (Friends Africa) is an ally of the Global Fund; a unique global public – private partnership and financing mechanism that had committed close to $10 billion in grants to public and private bodies towards combating and eradicating these diseases across the globe.  

The Friends Africa board which the top banker leads has a pan African membership including such continental leaders as the Nigeria's finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the executive chairman of Ghana’s Databank Financial services, Ken Ofori-Attah and world renowned Senegalese crooner, Youssou N’Dou.