Mylan Inc., one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation announced on the first of December that they will give a combined $1 million to the Business Leadership Council (BLC) for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Nigeria.
Nigeria is home to 3.4 million people living with HIV, with approximately 60,000 children newly infected with the virus in 2012 alone - the most of any nation in the world. For many years, the mother-to-child transmission rate there has remained at 30 percent.
The global community, led by UNAIDS and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has agreed on a Global Plan to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by the end of 2015. The plan's success depends on Nigeria, as it accounts for more than a quarter of all new infections.
The $1 million commitment by Mylan and EJAF will support this scale up effort through 2015, contributing to the national goal of testing 90% of pregnant mothers and treating those who are HIV-positive.
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch commented, "Mylan is proud to commemorate World AIDS Day by announcing this important partnership with EJAF and BLC to reach more HIV-positive pregnant women in Nigeria. Ending transmission of HIV from mother to child is an important step in ending AIDS. Mylan's mission is to provide the world's 7 billion people access to high quality medicine, and we have long been dedicated to ensuring access to affordable, life-saving antiretroviral medicines. In fact, today approximately 40% of those being treated for HIV in developing countries rely on a Mylan product, and we have helped to dramatically reduce the cost of recommended treatments."
Elton remarked, "For over a decade, I have been meeting women living with HIV who were desperate not to pass the virus to their unborn children. As soon as proven medication was available, my foundation began to help expand national programs to prevent such transmission. Over the past three years alone, this funding has supported 693,631 expecting mothers across 600 sites in seven countries. These programs have proven highly successful. I am delighted that our fundraising collaboration with Mylan has expanded to a grant-making one, and look forward to us making a substantial contribution not only to reducing mother-to-child-transmission of HIV in Nigeria, but helping the world reach the target of elimination of this transmission by the end of 2015."
Last month, the Mylan WTT Smash Hits event raised over 700,000 to fight AIDS. Highlights, including a little footage of Elton, is now at the WTT's Web site. So is video of 2013 Mylan WTT players, discussing (and singing) their favourite EJ songs.
Details are at www.wtt.com.