Chairman of Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation and the founder of Malaria eradication in Africa programme, Hon (Dr) Ned Munir Nwoko has stressed the need for greater public-private sector synergy, including multilateral agencies in the quest to achieve a malaria-free Africa.
He spoke over the weekend at Mount Ned Resort in Idumuje-Ugboko, Delta State where he hosted senior United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) delegations.
The event was part of the Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation’s plan to build wider coalition towards wiping out malaria disease from Nigeria and the African continent at large.
Officials of the multilateral organisations are the UN resident coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon; the WHO Nigerian representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, and many top diplomats, researchers, scholars and several stakeholders in the foundation’s malaria eradication project.
Nwoko has been engaging the UN and the WHO together with other stakeholders in his campaign to push the anti-malaria programme in Africa above the threshold of control and palliatives to total eradication through multi-faceted approach.
He observed that vaccines were invented against COVID-19 even at a stage when the true causative factors of the pandemic were still a mystery. He reasoned that malaria disease which has mosquito clearly identified as its cause ought to present lesser challenge with regards to vaccine research.
Nwoko stated that the same kind of speed with which the entire world came together to research and invent effective vaccines against COVID-19 can be applied to invent reliable vaccines that would deal a death knell on the malaria scourge which is still ravaging Africa and some other parts of the world.
He attributed the lukewarm global approach to the malaria challenge to the fact that it is often viewed as Africa’s problem by the developed nations, whereas the disease claims over 400,000 lives annually.
According to the former federal lawmaker, his foundation is collaborating with stakeholders to eradicate malaria in Africa through a combination of steps which include environmental sanitisation including proper waste management; fumigation of the environment; and research for an effective anti-malaria vaccine.
He also disclosed that his foundation was working closely with relevant lawmakers on a bill which he forwarded to the National Assembly for the establishment of malaria eradication agency.
On his part, the UN resident coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon stated that public-private partnership is vital to achieving lasting result in the anti-malaria campaign.
He said COVID is destroying the economies of some developed nations the same way malaria has been ravaging the economies of African countries’ for centuries. He advocated support for the Prince Ned Nwoko malaria eradication initiative.
The WHO Nigerian representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, expressed the willingness of his office to collaborate with the foundation. He said that the trials of RTSS vaccine has shown that it provided modest protection against both clinical and severe malaria in young infants.
He added that the vaccine has been rolled out in pilot projects in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa namel Ghana, Malawi and Kenya.
The foundation is desirous of fostering and fast tracking collaboration with the UN and WHO on the Malaria project, particularly on the areas of advocacy, vaccine implementation, environmental management and international diplomacy.
It is expected that the WHO will help to fast track the implementation of the RTSS in Nigeria and other African countries.