Nigeria: MTV Launches TV Series, Shuga

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Cable entertainment channel, MTV Base and its Staying Alive Foundation have joined forces with the Nigerian Agency for the Control of AIDS and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to combat a lack of awareness and misinformation about HIV, sexual responsibility and teen pregnancy among Nigerian youth by launching Shuga, MTV's award-winning TV drama about sex, youth and relationship.

The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, has also reportedly expressed the intention to take part in the campaign.

The launch of Shuga, which held at the WheatBaker Hotel on Tuesday, was attended by representatives of stakeholders in the campaign including the Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks, VIMN, Africa, Alex Okosi; Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Georgia Arnold; the Director, Resource Mobilisation for the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, Emmanuel Alhassan; Nigeria Country Representative, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mairo Mandara, and; CDC Country Director, Nigeria, Okey Nwanyanwu.

Mr. Okosi, on behalf of MTV, expressed his excitement at the launch of the series in Nigeria.

"MTV Base is proud and excited to bring Shuga to Nigeria for the first time. We are delighted that this award-winning series and multimedia campaign will be using its muscle to shine a light on important public health issues affecting youth, and promoting meaningful behaviour change while leveraging Nigerian creativity and talent," he said.

Celebrities at the event include Beat FM OAP, Olisa Adibua; Tinsel actors, Chris Attoh and Gbenro Ajibade; rapper, IllBliss; Jara host, Uti Nwachukwu; and model, Beverly Naya. Others include Oreka Goddis, Tosyn Bucknor, Toke Makinwa and Jumai Shaba.

The series will premiere on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322), Nigerian terrestrial broadcasters and other MTV networks and third party broadcasters around the world from December 1, World AIDS Day. Other elements of the Shuga campaign will include a radio drama series, a peer educator programme, a comic book in Hausa and English, a mobile information service, social media utilisation, and a range of digital platforms.