The United States (US) Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has identified Airtel Nigeria as an integral part of the United States government’s partnership with companies in the private sector across various countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mike Pompeo was speaking during a recent press briefing in Washington DC, where he shared stories of how the US Department of State is working to repatriate Americans in various countries across the world and how various partnerships have helped bolster the battle against the deadly coronavirus.
During his remarks, Pompeo revealed that the American government has partnered with leading telecommunications services provider, Airtel in Nigeria to reach millions of people by sensitizing them daily on the importance of safe hygiene practices as well as social distancing.
According to him, “In Nigeria, we’ve partnered with a company called Airtel to reach more than one million citizens per day with voice and text messages on social distancing, safe hygiene practices, and other measures.”
He recognized the private sector’s efforts, stating that the American government continues to seek partnership opportunities as it is imperative in curbing the spread of the Coronavirus “We’re always looking for opportunities to partner with the private sector – one of the most powerful force multipliers of our nation. We want to help these countries help themselves”, he stated.
Secretary Pompeo also lauded USAID’s efforts in responding to the pandemic, which has now been reported in over 210 countries in the world. He went on to share the inspiring story of an Egyptian nurse who just graduated from school on a USAID scholarship and is now treating COVID-19 patients in the country.
In its support to the fight against the spread of COVID-19, Airtel Nigeria recently announced a commitment of over N1.9B towards stopping the deadly virus in Nigeria, which included free text messages for customers to friends and families across all networks worth over N1 billion; free access to health and educational websites valued at over N500million and 100,000 Respirator Masks worth N120m. It has also set aside N200m towards the provision of an Isolation Center or any required medical facility agreed with the appropriate health authority in the country.
The Company has earlier commenced a multi-million-naira educational awareness campaign to sensitize Nigerians on steps to take to safeguard themselves and others against the spread of the COVID-19.
Airtel had committed about N100m to support the NCDC, Port Health Services and the 36 States, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the provision of toll-free lines to help in the fight against COVID-19 and to connect the NCDC’s offices nationwide with Broadband services. It noteworthy that the company’s employees under their Airtel Employee Volunteer Scheme contributed N20m to be donated to Lagos State Government for the provision of food items to needy families during this crisis. They are the first recorded group of employees in a single corporate organization to make such an outstanding financial commitment to support the fight against COVID-19 in the country.