Chairman of Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation and Antarctica explorer, Mr. Ned Nwoko, has explained why he is seeking Federal Government approval over the establishment of a separate agency that will strictly handle malaria issues in the country.
Nwoko added that establishment of agency for malaria eradication is the only way by which the quest to eradicate malaria in Nigeria will be achieved, saying that the agency will focus only on issues relating malaria.
Nwoko spoke at the weekend in Abuja while playing host to Arewa Youth Vanguard for Change and Development and other students Union who honoured him with the Leadership Excellence Award for Humanitarian service to mankind.
According to him, the same kind of speed with which the entire world came together to do research and invent effective vaccines against COVID-19 can be applied to invent reliable vaccines that would deal a death knell on malaria scourge which is still ravaging Africa and some other parts of the world.
Nwoko 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.
The former federal lawmaker also disclosed that his foundation is collaborating with stakeholders to eradicate malaria in Africa through a combination of steps.
These steps, according to him, include environmental sanitization through 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 has forwarded to the National Assembly for the establishment of malaria eradication agency.
Nwoko also advocated for effective sensitization of the public on measures to curb the high rate of malaria attack in Nigeria, especially the creation of clean environment that would not serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes.
He said, “Research has revealed that malaria and mosquitoes are not natural to us: they can be eradicated. The first thing is to address the cause, mosquito, which breeds and multiplies in dirty environment.
The Chairman of Ned Nwoko Foundation also lamented the huge amounts of refuse dumped all over the country, thereby posing great risks to health.
The federal lawmaker also said that it is regrettable that there is no recycling plant in the country.
Nwoko therefore said that concerted efforts should be put in place to ensure the establishment of recycling plants in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja to manage wastes.
He explained that the first strategy mapped out by the Foundation was to address the issue of sanitation, including effective waste management.
He also disclosed that the plan include the siting of a multi-functional waste recycling plant in each Local Government Area of the country to turn wastes into plastic products and paper as well as generate energy from the waste products.
He added that the next step would be aerial and land fumigation across the country using chemicals that are harmless to humans with the aim of eliminating mosquitoes as well as maintain clean and healthy environment.
Besides, Nwoko also stated that the Foundation would be driving research on malaria vaccine in Nigeria, adding that trials were already going on in some countries. He expressed the hope that the efficacy of the vaccine would be determined by the end of this year.
Nwoko also called for support from the National Assembly and other stakeholders, saying that there is the need to support the bill on malaria eradication and the setting up of agency to handle malaria-related matters.