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Celebrating anti-malaria envoy, Ned Nwoko

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[FILE] Deputy chairman of Okowa’s Governorship Campaign Council, Ned Nwoko

Sir: As countries in various continents mark this year’s edition of World Malaria Day today (April 25, 2021), Prince Ned Nwoko, an illustrious son of Nigeria stands tall to be celebrated by those who share in his tendencies to practically lend a helping hand in the eradication of the malaria scourge from Nigeria and the African continent.

The former House of Representatives member through his Ned Nwoko Foundation project has vowed to work with national and multilateral organizations to achieve results. Malaria is a deadly infectious disease that has been afflicting mankind for thousands of years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are about 200 million cases of malaria infection worldwide annually. Nearly 600,000 deaths result from the cases yearly with 90 per cent of the deaths occurring in Africa.

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Prince Ned Nwoko is worried that the draining effects of the scourge of malaria in Nigeria and Africa, come with certain questions which border on the attempt to eliminate or drastically depopulate the African continent. It is an attempt to search for answers to some of the questions that he got inspired to embark on the malaria eradication project, Roll Back Malaria project over the years, through collaboration with many relevant government agencies. 

He had sought collaborative engagement with the Federal Government to see how the vector-causing the scourge of Malaria – the Mosquito could be eliminated in their numbers. It proposed three major approaches of Vaccine Research; Sanitation in the Environment; and Fumigation to get rid of mosquitoes which are primary vectors causing malaria. Government reportedly welcomed the proposal for collaboration from the Foundation because of the Health Ministry’s belief that the burden of Malaria elimination requires more than Government input.  The involvement of the private sector is perceived to be a huge contribution

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As a measure towards demonstrating his readiness of ridding the continent of a deadly disease caused by the malaria parasite, The Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation plans to fund research for a malaria vaccine to the tune of U.S$750,000 to be accessed by five universities across Africa. Each university would have access to US $125,000. The grants shall be accessed by selected scientific scholars in Africa. Nwoko is optimistic that within a time frame of five years, breakthroughs would have been recorded in the anti-malaria vaccine. This goal would be pursued simultaneously with the mosquito elimination quest with a view to ensuring that all African countries join the league of malaria-free nations.

Investing in the development of reliable anti-malaria vaccines by the universities is though part of the long-term strategy of eradicating malaria from the African continent. However, his short-term delivery plan is national mobilisation for the fumigation of Nigeria and other African countries. He plans to push for legislation at the National Assembly, Abuja, for a National Fumigation Day or week in Nigeria.

Odita Sunday wrote from Lagos.

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