Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has made the elimination of malaria from the region by 2015 a major priority, using an integrated strategy that involves strengthening of the vector control (biolarviciding) intervention component, ECOWAS Commissioner for Administration and Finance Khadi Saccoh said.
Opening a Town Hall meeting Thursday at the ECOWAS Commission in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on behalf of President of the Commission, the Commissioner said the benefits of malaria elimination would be tremendous in the region, which bears the heaviest burden of the disease.
They include reduction in the high rate of mortality and morbidity, as well as high cost of hospitalization and treatment, which would lead to increased productivity by workers.
The ECOWAS Malaria Elimination Campaign is being vigorously pursued through the implementation of a Tripartite Agreement with Cuba and Venezuela, to ensure adequate availability of biolarvicides, especially through technology transfer for local production, as well as resource mobilization and sustainable community buy-in for better all-round outcome.
Commissioner Saccoh assured that ECOWAS would do all that is necessary to mobilize all stakeholders for the success of the elimination campaign.
Meeting Moderator Chioma Amajoh, who is the Director of National Malaria Control Programme in Nigeria’s Ministry of Health, said it is feasible to eliminate malaria, and that as a multi-sectoral and cross-border task, the community and other stakeholders must play their parts.
She said ECOWAS deserves commendation for driving this project, noting that recently, the Commission’s Vice-President, Dr. Toga McIntosh, led a high-level delegation that included Health Ministers of Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire on a visit to Cuba and Venezuela, within the context of actualization of the Tripartite Agreement.
Officials of Cuba’s Labiofam, which is piloting the biolarvicide production and application in Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso, made a brief presentation on the company’s experiences.
PANA reports that the Town Hall meeting capped three days of deliberation by health experts tasked to produce a road-map that will feed into a high-level regional Ministerial meeting in December 2012, on how to move the ECOWAS Malaria Elimination Campaign forward.
-0- PANA SEG 3Aug2012