Wednesday, 17 April 2013

‘Fight Against Malaria Will Be Sustained’- Amaechi

…Calls on ECOWAS, Federal Ministry of Health and others to back him up

Dr. Sampson Parker, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu at the ECOWAS/ Rivers State Fight over malaria
Dr. Sampson Parker, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu

The Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has expressed his administration’s determination to unrelentingly tackle and ultimately eradicate malaria from the state.
The governor said this during the first ECOWAS Town Hall meeting on malaria elimination and ground breaking ceremony of a Biolarvicide factory in the state at the Alfred Diette Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt, late last week.

He said the state would partner with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and foreign organisations to eliminate the disease.
“We must invest in biolarvicides, we must go with the Federal Ministry of Health, the ECOWAS Commission and the Cubans to invest in the biolarvicides. We must also invest in indoor spraying. Since we have the target of 2015, we must ensure that by the end of next year, we will either eradicate malaria or reduce it to its barest,” Amaechi said.

He said that his reason for building the biolarvicide factory was both for commercial and for the fight against malaria in the state.

“We achieve two things in the construction of the biolarvicide factory, first its commercial, so we get back our money. We will get the other states to buy from us. We need ECOWAS to bring their part of the money. This is serious for me, so you have me on board. I’ve already spoken with the Minister of Health, to talk with the National Coordinator of Malaria Control Programme. I want to see the cost,” he said.

Responding, President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency, Kadre Desire Quedraogo, assured of the commission’s commitment and that of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government to eradicating malaria in the ECOWAS region.

He mentioned that the aim of the commission: to unite the peoples of West Africa and ensure peace and stability, security and economic development and eradication of poverty would be meaningless if the scourge of malaria was still evident in West Africa.

“How can we achieve these objectives if we do not overcome serious scourges like malaria which is a very great challenge for our member states? I just want to assure you of the commitment of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government to eradicate malaria in the ECOWAS region. They are regularly informed of the progress we are making on this effort and I want here to congratulate the three ECOWAS member states that have accepted to partner with us in this enterprise, namely Coted’ lvoire, Ghana and Nigeria and I want specially to thank the governor of Rivers State for accepting to play this very leading role in this eradication of poverty,” he said.

He also commended the Governor for his warm welcome and his unrelenting efforts towards eradicating malaria scourge in the state.

“Let me express my sincere gratitude to His Excellency, the Governor, not only for his warm hospitality but also for his support for this priority programme of ECOWAS member states. And indeed, I want also, to congratulate him for the great achievements in the health sector. Ensuring free healthcare to the population is a great achievement and I would want on behalf of ECOWAS to congratulate him and his government,” Quedraogo finished.

Adding his opinion, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, stated the need for joint effort and environmental cleanliness to successfully tackle malaria.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, had earlier acknowledged that malaria is a serious public health challenge but said Rivers State will partner with various stakeholders to successfully eliminate malaria.

“Just recently, three biolarvicides production factories have been earmarked for construction in West Africa through a tripartite agreement involving Cuba, Venezuela and the ECOWAS. Rivers State is a beneficiary of one of these factories. This State has taken the challenge of Integrated vector Control very seriously and has indeed piloted the use of biolarvicides with very successful results. We feel proud and determined to partner with various stakeholders to achieve a successful elimination of Malaria. 

The use of biolarvicides for interrupting the vector development is economical in the long run, protects against a wide range of diseases that are transmitted by mosquito, ecologically sound, sustainable, safe and recommended by the World Health Organization as a very effective vector control strategy in the Malaria Elimination Campaign. The State Government has already committed funds to the realization of the biolarvicide factory and has also donated 1.5 hectares of land at the Integrated Media Industries site at Rumuosi, Obio-Akpor to this effect,”  he said.

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