Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ECOWAS flags off campaign on elimination of malaria by 2015

15 Mar 2011 20:56 Africa/Lagos

ECOWAS flags off campaign on elimination of malaria by 2015

ABUJA, March 15, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- ECOWAS Commission has flagged off its campaign for the elimination of malaria in the region by 2015, with the launching of the programme in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State in South-South Nigeria.

The campaign will focus on strengthening the vector control component of the fight against malaria in the region through the use of Cuban technology on bio-larvicides.

Bio-larvicides are environmental-friendly substances that are applied to mosquito reservoirs and kill the larvae while the adults are eliminated through residual spraying of homes.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador James Victor Gbeho, said

the strategy of vector control using this technology was “adopted to tackle the menace of malaria and guarantee total annihilation of the disease in the subcontinent in the spirit of the agreement by ECOWAS Member States to eliminate malaria by 2015”.

In the message to the ceremony, the President said that the battle against malaria has been multi-faceted and that the “current strategy is being adopted because of the evidence of its success in other parts of the world where malaria has since ceased to exist”.

The President said that the launching of the programme in Rivers State in Nigeria's Niger Delta “where the terrain is swampy and a natural habitat for the breeding of the mosquito vector” is instructive as it shares the same characteristics with the entire West African coast since the terrain is the same.

The programme also involves the establishment of factories in collaboration with Venezuela for the local production of bio-larvicides in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Rivers State, Nigeria

to be used in the regional campaign for the elimination of malaria.

The Rivers State Deputy Governor who flagged off the campaign, Mr. Tele Ikuru, described the occasion as historic in the annals of health care delivery in the state and West Africa, saying that by hosting the pilot project, the state has defied skeptics, who believe “that it is our destiny to continue to control malaria rather than eliminate it”.

The ceremony was attended by the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Elio Savon Oliva.

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