ECOWAS, partners take bold step to eliminate malaria

Port Harcourt, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS and its partners have achieved another milestone in their stride towards the elimination of malaria in the region with the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a biolarvicides factory in Port Harcourt, capital of Nigeria’s south east  Rivers State, according to a statement from the sub-region al bloc.

It said that the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, and Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan at the ceremony, unveiled the plaque at a well-attended ceremony on Thursday.

The Nigerian factory is one of the three being built in three ECOWAS Member States under a Tripartite Agreement between ECOWAS, Cuba and Venezuela for the production of boilarvicides, a safe substance that kills the larvae of malaria vectors, mosquitoes.

The two other factories are earmarked for Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana under the campaign which seeks to eliminate malaria in the region by 2015.

Under the programme, ECOWAS seeks to strengthen the vector control component of the intervention to rid West Africa of malaria, which is a major public health problem that also stunts the economic development of the region and Africa as a whole.

The ground-breaking ceremony was preceded by a Town Hall Meeting where representatives of civil society organizations, religious and traditional rulers, women and youth groups and ECOWAS Commission officials, among others, discussed the ramifications of malaria vector control intervention, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged as the only strategy that can reduce malaria transmission from high level to zero.

Addressing the gathering, Ouédraogo reaffirmed ECOWAS’ commitment and determination to eliminate the malaria scourge so as to free resources for the economic development and to enable the region attain its full potentials.

The Organization’s major priorities of peace and security coupled with economic development cannot be achieved unless such threats as malaria are effectively addressed, he added.

Ouédraogo commended development partners, especially the governments of Cuba and Venezuela, for supporting the ECOWAS campaign, noting that all hands should be on deck until the war against malaria is won.

He also expressed confidence in the prospect of achieving the 2015 date for malaria elimination, while expressing the Commission’s appreciation to the government and people of Rivers State and especially Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, one of Nigeria’s two Malaria Ambassadors, for partnering with ECOWAS on the anti-malaria initiative.

In an address on behalf of President Jonathan, Health Minister Prof. Chukwu, thanked ECOWAS leaders for initiating the Campaign with the two Latin American countries providing both financial and technology transfer support.

He listed the Federal Government’s various malaria initiatives and highlighted the need to strengthen indoor residual spraying of mosquitoes as well as environmental sanitation through the reintroduction of sanitary health inspectors in the country.
-0- PANA PR/VAO 12April2013

12 april 2013 20:06:24

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