By Ikechukwu Odu
A non-governmental foundation belonging to the former member of the House of Representatives, Prince Ned Nwoko, has reiterated its commitment to the total eradication of malaria scourge on the African continent.
The former lawmaker revealed both short and long-term plans of the foundation geared towards getting the continent off the stranglehold of malaria when he was honoured with the Icon of Philanthropy Award by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, Faculty of Arts, weekend, during the faculty’s 1st Alumni Homecoming and Reunion.
Speaking at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium, PAA, UNN, where he was represented by Nobert Chiazor, Nwoko said the short-term plan will come in form of national mobilisation for clean up and fumigation of Nigeria and other African countries to rid them of mosquitoes, while the long-term plan will focus on investment in the development of antimalaria vaccines and investment in research grants.
While speaking of the plans, he said “The short-term delivery plans shall be through national mobilisation for a cleanup and fumigation of Nigeria and other African countries to rid them of mosquitoes. To achieve performance, governments and community members shall be made stakeholders of their environments while community town hall meetings shall similarly be held to appoint sanitation ambassadors and officers.
“The foundation’s long-term plan in delivering the project is investing in the development of antimalaria vaccines. In furtherance of this, the foundation has set aside the sum of $750,000 as academic research grants for malaria vaccines in five top-grade universities spread across the African continent. Apart from that, there would be massive public enlightenment to achieve the goals of the foundation and bring this to the attention of governments, the people and the world at large,” he said.
He bemoaned the high malaria-related death rates in Nigeria and other African countries of Democratic Republic of Congo, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and Cote d’Ivoire where World Health Organisation, WHO, discovered 50% of the world’s malaria cases.
He regretted that out of the 54 countries in Africa, 47 are still under the huge burden of malaria.
He also called on individuals and organisations to improve on their health education and environmental sanitation in neighbourhood and communities in order to deny mosquitoes breeding and hiding places.
In his address, the Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Nnanyelugo Okoro said, the alumni lecture has given the alma mater a platform to mull measures towards repositioning the university to be globally competitive.
He also said “Globally, universities are driven by highly skilled human resources that are a function of creativity in arts and humanities. I have no doubt that our faculty has made giant strides in producing high-flying individuals worthy of emulation and celebration.
“As we celebrate each and every one of us today, may I remind us that it is part of our social responsibility to feed the geese that lay the golden eggs.
“In the past few years, the number of students and staff members has increased overwhelmingly. The result is that our basic infrastructures are overtasked. In fact, the faculty lecture theatre can no longer take all our 100 level students taking faculty-wide courses. To this end, we urgently need a faculty lecture theatre with office accommodation to cater for our teeming new members of staff who now used cars as offices.
“Rainy season has become nightmarish for both staff and students of the faculty. The roof of our faculty leaks profusely such that after each bout of rain, the floors of the complex become waterlogged. We need urgent interventions in the re-roofing of the complex to forestall further depreciation of the edifice to the point of possible collapse. This is to enhance the productivity of both staff and students of the faculty,” Okoro appealed.