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Encouraging life skills, health education to eliminate malaria, improve sanitation, hygiene

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Malaria treatment

As part of efforts to eliminate malaria, improve sanitation and hygiene education, menstrual hygiene management, and environmental protection (air pollution), a consortium is encouraging youth development initiative on life skills, health literacy and education through basketball and community programmes.

The consortium include: Africare Nigeria, ExxonMobil and the National Basketball Association (NBA). The consortium’s project is tagged ‘Power Forward’.

The minister of sports and youth development, Mr. Sunday Dare, who lauded the initiative, at the finals of the sixth edition of Power Forward Finals event celebration at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, said the project has promoted youths and sports development in the country.

The minister who was represented by the Director, Sports Medicine, Dr. Paul Onyeudo, also described Power Forward as a massive step in the overall development of Nigeria. “It is important to note that when you develop the youths, you are doing a lot of service to this country,” he said.

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The Officer in Charge, Africare Nigeria, Dr. Patrick Adah, disclosed that the project since its inception in 2013 reached 65,000 youths including Secondary School Students and community members in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. He said the project has greatly impacted on the lives of the students as it has taught them basic life skills such as leadership, respect and responsibility through Basketball and programmes in vulnerable communities.

He explained that students across 30 schools and community members have also benefitted from its malaria prevention campaigns and treatment, environment sanitation awareness, hygiene education as well as menstrual hygiene management awareness campaign.

Adah informed that over 500 girls have been trained in menstrual hygiene while 373 campaigns on public health have been carried out in communities.

The officer in charge also informed that the sixth Power Forward Finals will also feature malaria jeopardy where schools will contest and the winner from the ten competing schools will win N200,000 to carry out malaria activity in any chosen community so as to encourage the students to be involved and interested in their community and be part of its development.

The General Manager, Public and Government Affairs ExxonMobil Nigeria Nigel Cookey-Gam, also speaking said ExxonMobil supported Projects like Power Foward have reached over 125 million people worldwide.

He added that in an effort to reduce malaria burden which is in line with the vision of the Power Forward, over four million anti-malarial treatments has been given, more than 14 million bed nets distributed, nearly three million diagnostic tests carried out and more than four million anti-malarial treatments.

“We continue to be a corporate leader in the fight to reduce the global burden of malaria,” he said.

He added that in 2019 the project reached over 12,200 students and community members with public health messaging in malaria prevention strategies, sanitation and hygiene education, menstrual hygiene management, environmental protection (air pollution).”

The Board Member 1, Secondary Education Board, Mr. Sunny Moniedafe, also commended the initiative saying that it will help take students who are unable to get in to schools off the streets.

He urged stakeholders to support the project so that more children with untapped talents will be reached.

Meanwhile, the 2015 NBA Champion, Festus Ezeli, said the project teaches teamwork, education, and leadership through Basketball.

He noted that he got his education through basketball, while urging the students to be dedicated and hardworking in their endeavours

“You can achieve whatever you want to achieve through this game, I was in Nigeria 15 years ago and I came back as an NBA champion, I am what I am today because someone believed in me and encouraged me. I thank ExxonMobil, NBA and Africare for this initiative”, he said.

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