US$3m raised during Private Sector Summit

KIGALI - Combined efforts by the Government of Rwanda and the Private Sector saw a total of US$3m raised towards the Global Fund during the Private Sector Summit on Saturday evening.
L- R;  Michel Kazatchkine, Richard Sezibera,Akudo Anyanwu and Robert Bayigamba at the Press conference. (Photo J Mbanda)
L- R; Michel Kazatchkine, Richard Sezibera,Akudo Anyanwu and Robert Bayigamba at the Press conference. (Photo J Mbanda)

KIGALI - Combined efforts by the Government of Rwanda and the Private Sector saw a total of US$3m raised towards the Global Fund during the Private Sector Summit on Saturday evening.

The money was raised during the event dubbed “Gift from Africa” as part of the efforts by the Government of Rwanda, Private Sector members from around by the continent and Friends of Africa, an organisation that mobilizes political and financial support for the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The fundraising initiative was announced during a joint press conference to announce the outcomes of the event which was graced by President Paul Kagame and the First Lady Mrs. Jeannette Kagame.

The press briefing was jointly addressed by the Minister of Health Dr. Richard Sezibera, Prof. Michel Kazatchkine, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, Dr. Akudo Anyanwu Ikemba, founder and CEO of Friends of Africa and Robert Bayigamba, the President of the Private Sector Foundation Rwanda.

The Government of Rwanda contributed US$1m while the Private Sector raised US$2m and the money will be given to the Global Fund, the global organisation which provides a quarter of all international financing for AIDS  the largest financier of the fight against Malaria and Tuberculosis.

Prof. Kazatchkine referred to the contribution as a “sign of solidarity” from both the government and the private sector of Africa in the fight against the three killer diseases and that it shows that the private sector understands that health is not just expenditure but rather an investment.

“Healthy business requires healthy people, and it is also a sign of leadership here in Africa and leadership in Rwanda, because as you all know, the event was hosted and chaired by the President himself and the First Lady who are also at the forefront of the fight against AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis,” Kazatchkine said.

He noted that the contribution by the Government of Rwanda is a something with great political significance by the country’s leadership in the fight against the epidemics which, he said, should be emulated by other governments on the continent.

Only Nigeria, South Africa and Namibia have pledged money to the fund, with Rwanda becoming the fourth. Kazatchkine called for increased Private-Public Partnerships in the fight against the three diseases.

Bayigamba affirmed the private sector’s commitment through initiatives of Corporate Social Responsibility to continue investing in fighting killer diseases because they affect the market when clients die from them.

He noted that among the initiatives is the distribution of mosquito nets, access to drugs, free HIV/AIDS tests and awareness.

Dr. Akudo paid tribute to President Kagame and the First Lady for their indefatigable efforts to support the “Gift of Africa”, an initiative between the Global Fund and Friends of Africa to pool resources for the fight against the three killer diseases.

“What we saw yesterday (Saturday) were two distinguished guests; Madame Kagame and President Kagame, bringing together the Private Sector in the country to give support to the Global Fund, and that was a remarkable,” she said.

She added that the US$3m raised was a great contribution and speaks volumes about the commitment both by the Government of Rwanda and the country’s Private Sector to fight the three scourges.

Sezibera said the government would continue reducing the prevalence of the three diseases through investment in better health services, access to drugs, advocacy and awareness as well as distribution of mosquito nets.

He added that the government will distribute an extra four million mosquito nets to ensure that at least each household has about three mosquito nets.

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