Private Sector should take a lead role in the fight against diseases

Rwanda, over the weekend, hosted a high-level ‘Private Sector’ summit, jointly organized by Friends of the Global Fund Africa and the Government of Rwanda, to mobilize the private sector in the war against three top killer diseases; HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Rwanda, over the weekend, hosted a high-level ‘Private Sector’ summit, jointly organized by Friends of the Global Fund Africa and the Government of Rwanda, to mobilize the private sector in the war against three top killer diseases; HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The organisers managed to raise US$3 million from both the Government of Rwanda (US$1m) and business entities from across the continent, which will be donated to the Global Fund (GF) through the ‘Gift from Africa’ initiative.

Rwanda became the fourth African nation to contribute towards to the GF, a global basked fund, dedicated to the fight against the three killer diseases.
 
During the summit, speakers called on the private sector to actively take part in the fight against the diseases, which continue to claim millions of lives across the globe.

For the past few years, few national corporate companies have joined the war on HIV/Aids. However, their intervention has largely focused on giving support to their own staff living with HIV/Aids. Their involvement with activities aimed at containing the disease in the wider community has been minimal, leaving the main responsibility to the Government and some NGOs.

In view of this, the Kigali meeting should galvanize, not only our own private sector but also their counterparts on the continent, to make investments in the health of people a top priority.

Companies depend on clients and healthy workforce and should, therefore, be committed to investing in initiatives that promote a healthy and working population.

The three diseases constitute a major threat to our workforce, as well as the general purchasing power, thus, companies should consider their intervention as business strategy, and not charity.

Meanwhile, the companies that contributed during the Kigali fundraising, deserve commendation.

Credit goes to the men and women behind the ‘Gift from Africa’ initiative. The initiative demonstrates that, after all, Africans are not just on the receiving end; that we are as concerned as anyone else with the health of the world citizens.

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