In furtherance of the objectives of the Roll Back Malaria programme in the country, the NNPC/Chevron joint venture partnership have extended the malaria eradication programme to Igbogene community, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Speaking at the event, a medical expert, Dr. Damien Nwaneri, stated that every Nigerian is at risk of malaria owing to the geographical location of the country, which falls within 64 degrees north and 32 degrees south of the equator, an area that has been classified as the malaria belt, adding that malaria accounts for 60 per cent of out-patients in Nigeria's primary healthcare centers.
Nwaneri, a consultant paediatrician and senior research fellow at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Edo State, stated that one child dies every five minutes from malaria disease, adding that malaria remains both a major cause and a consequence of global poverty and inequity even as it is most felt in the least developed areas and among the poorest members of society.
The programme was to showcase the commitment of Chevron Nigeria Limited to the elimination of malaria disease in the country with particular emphasis on how to deploy environmental sanitation and management techniques to the elimination of the disease, training on current methods of detection and treatment of the disease among others.
"Methods and objectives of the Chevron Nigeria Limited Roll Back Malaria: Environmental Management Project to Eliminate Malaria are aligned with those of the Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) at the Federal, State and Local Government Area levels, and the UNDP/World Bank/WHO research on malaria control.
"The Development Africa Malaria Elimination Programme (DAMEP), combines techniques for environmental sanitation and management with the use of proven preventative and therapeutic interventions with Information Education and Communication (IEC). The programme aims to not only treat and prevent malaria infection, but to change the behavioural patterns and social systems of the communities themselves.
"Development Africa establishes a public health alliance, including a therapeutic and preventive union with individuals, health workers and communities to promote not only the treatment and prevention of malaria, but the reduction of infected mosquito breeding grounds. The environmental modification and manipulation techniques and in-depth training for community agents and health workers in environmental sanitation practices will regulate micro-environmental conditions and will provide long-term intervention against infection," he stated.
In his keynote address at the flag off of the programme, General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Esimaje Brikinn, stated the exercise was one of the social intervention initiatives through which the NNPC/Chevron seeks to add value to the health and development of Nigerians, adding that the sponsors appreciate the support and representation of the state's governor, Seriake Dickson.
Brikinn, who was represented by the Bayelsa State Team Lead of the company, stated that "The RBM programme aims to ensure better health for the people by tackling the problem of malaria in a sustainable way. It consists of environmental sanitation and management which targets the environment which is the breeding area for mosquitoes, the vector of malaria in 100 houses in Igbogene community.
"We have done all these because we have always viewed the provision of quality healthcare delivery as a crucial social service that will help build a healthy citizenry and unlock the country's human potential. This is what inspired our partnership with the Bayelsa State Government and Development Africa to establish the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PROMOT 1) project in the past and this Roll Back Malaria programme. The interventions align with our business and social objectives because we recognise the profound inter-dependence of healthy businesses and healthy societies," he said.
Headline activities of the programme include vegetation and waste control, removal of stagnant water and clearing of drainages. During the period, officials of DA will spearhead the clearing of bushes surrounding houses in different communities in the city, remove garbage heaps to government allocated dump sites and distribute two waste bins per household to 100 houses, one each for organic and one for recyclable and other wastes.
Two newly-built community compost bins will also be formally unveiled. The compost bins are part of efforts to promote recycling and composting for waste management. Other activities include free malaria screening and treatment for residents; distribution of 500 long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets as well as capacity building for health workers and malaria prevention interactive sessions for residents respectively.
The capacity development exercise for health workers and medical personnel will dwell on current malaria prevention and treatment methods using the Federal Ministry of Health's National Malaria Elimination Programme's training manual. There will also be training for members of the community on how to deploy environmental sanitation for malaria elimination.