Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation (PNNF), an NGO on malaria control, says its decision to embark on ‘Malaria-free Africa Project’ in the Antarctica, the is to draw global attention to the scourge in Africa.
Mr Nosike Ogbuenyi, the Strategic Communication Adviser of the group, made this known on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Mr Ned Nwoko, the Chairman of PNNF, had earlier in the month led his team to Antarctica, earth’s coldest continent in the South Pole, for the launch of his malaria eradication project.
He said that the move had generated reactions back home with many commending the initiative, while others queried the choice of another continent to begin a campaign for an “African problem”.
Ogbuenyi told NAN that the Antarctica expedition was strategic to draw global attention, especially now that the UN was seeking for a permanent solution to malaria in Africa.
He said the group would want to use the advantageous position of the ice-filled continent to draw the attention of the world to a global challenge.
“He also wants the UN and other global institutions to respond to the challenge posed by the scourge of malaria in Africa.
“PNNF wants to work in concert with other stakeholders to appeal to the UN to dedicate a date to promote the campaign for elimination of mosquitoes and eradication of malaria in the world.
“As you know, the Antarctica is a continent that is totally free of mosquito and with this expedition, the journey toward a malaria-free Nigeria and Africa has begun,” he said.
Ogbuenyi said that on his return to Nigeria, Nwoko would continue his meeting with scientists, environmental experts and other stakeholders in pursuit of the goals of the malaria eradication project.
NAN reports that the PNNF’s “Malaria Eradication In Africa Project” was launched on Dec. 18, 2019 in Abuja with the aim of ridding Africa of the disease.
Nwoko had said that his foundation was worried by the devastating effects of the malaria scourge in Africa and was set to work toward a malaria-free continent in the foreseeable future.
According him, the PNNF’s short-term delivery plan on the malaria eradication programme is a national mobilisation for the fumigation of Nigeria and other African countries.
He said as a former member of the House of Representatives, he planned to push for legislation at the National Assembly for a National Fumigation Day or week in Nigeria and to encourage same in other African countries.
He said that the long-term plan was investing in development of anti-malaria vaccine as the foundation planned to establish Academic Research Grants for Malaria Vaccine in universities spread across the African continent.
According to him, the grants shall be available for scientific scholars in Africa with a proper selection process and body of judges for the most qualified students and researchers to access.
“I have approved the sum of 750,000 dollars for that research, and the grants shall be accessed by selected scientific scholars in Africa.
“Malaria is seen as an African problem and it should therefore be handled by Africans but our leaders have not shown the will and determination in this regard.
“Presently, only six countries out of 54 that make up the African continent are recognised by the World Health Organisation as malaria-free, while the remaining 47 are endemic countries,” he said. (NAN)