Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS and the Republic of Cuba have agreed new measures to revive their collaboration towards the elimination of malaria in West Africa by 2015 through a control and elimination programme.
In a press statement here, received by PANA Wednesday, the ECOWAS Commission said the measures were contained in a framework agreement signed at the end of the second visit to Cuba of a high-level ministerial delegation, led by its Vice President, Dr Toga Mcintosh, in which both parties reiterated the viability of their mutual objective of achieving the eventual elimination of malaria by that date.
The delegation to Cuba included the health ministers of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria.
The collaboration is anchored on the elimination of mosquito larvae through the spraying of biolarvicides on their habitats, a product of LABIOFAM S.A. of Cuba.
Under the agreement, Cuba agreed to continue to engage bilaterally with Member States, particularly Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, where pilot implementation has already started for the Malaria elimination programme leveraging on the multilateral platform created by the ECOWAS Commission and Cuba for the successful implementation of the programme
Both parties agreed to develop a plan to import the product from Cuba for use in the three countries during the first phase prior to a complete roll out in other Member States followed by local production in Ghana and Nigeria by the middle of 2014 and then in Cote d’Ivoire between 2015 and 2016.
The agreement also called for the development of a joint plan of action for a two-phased training of local personnel in West Africa on the effective application of biolarvicides. The first phase will focus on members of the armed forces followed by the training of Community citizens, private sector operators, vector control specialists and entomologists.
Modalities for Technology Transfer, Technical Service arrangements, capacity building, Patenting and licensing are also expected to be concluded by the end of December 2012 under the agreement.
While in Cuba, the delegation which also included the Vice President of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), the Director of Private Sector of the ECOWAS Commission, the Health Advisor to the President of ECOWAS and Malaria Programme Managers from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria met Cuban ministers and key government officials from the Ministries of Health, External Trade and Investment and Foreign Affairs between 12 and 13 April, 2012.
The delegation later went to Caracas, Venezuela, to follow up on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on funding support for malaria elimination.
-0- PANA PR/VAO 25April2012