Posted by News Express | 4 December 2014 | 3,266 times
Leading telecommunications operator, Airtel Nigeria, yesterday in Lagos joined other telecommunications operators in the continent to partner the African Union (AU) Commission to support the fight against Ebola in West Africa.
The initiative, operating under the hash tag ‘#AfricaAgainstEbola’, will use an SMS dedicated platform to raise funds for the deployment of African health workers to affected countries.
Ebola has claimed over 5,000 lives across some parts of West Africa since it was first reported in Guinea in December 2013. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), this is the largest outbreak on the continent, affecting mostly Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Speaking at the launch ceremony held at the Eko Hotels, Lagos, which attracted some of the Nigerian Ebola survivors, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, declared the company’s commitment to the partnership with the AU on the initiative.
According to him, “As a major stakeholder with operations in 17 African countries, we are intensely interested in the communities and people we serve just as we are passionate about creating platforms to uplift the less privileged. This partnership with AU provides a fine opportunity for all of us at Airtel Nigeria to join in kicking Ebola out of Africa”.
Mr. Ogunsanya announced the donation of mobile phones, sim cards and airtime to all the 290 Nigerian doctors, nurses and other care-givers, who have volunteered to join the fight against Ebola.
He urged other private sector organisations to join the telecommunication operators in the effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against Ebola, which has brought grief to many families in West Africa.
Commenting on the initiative, African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said: “We are conscious of the urgent need for all of us to do more, and to act fast. It is only by acting together will we ensure that our continent and world is free of Ebola. Let me repeat our call to all Africans to lead the global efforts of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.”
The SMS fundraising campaign is using the short code 7979. Airtel customers are required to text ‘Stop Ebola’ to this code in order to donate at the rate of N100 per SMS between now and the end of February 2015. All monies realised from this SMS campaign will be donated totally to the AU Fund set up for this purpose.
Other dignitaries present at the event included Matthew Willsher, CEO, Etisalat Nigeria; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group; Mr Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman, Econet Wireless International; and Dr. Haliru Alhassan, Minister of Health, among several others.
•Photo shows Mr Segun Ogunsanya, MD & CEO, Airtel Nigeria, in handshake with Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union while Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman of Econet Wireless International, looks on.
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