President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated a 16-member Nigeria End Malaria Council (NEMC), with Alhaji Aliko Dangote as Chairman.
Others appointed as members of the council include Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Board of Directors, UBA; Folurunsho Alakija, CEO, Rose of Sharon Group; Herbert Wigwe, CEO, Access Bank; Femi Otedola, CEO Forte Oil; Hajiya Lami Lau, President, National Council of Women Societies; John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Emeritus Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese and Alhaja Rafiyat Sanni, National Amira, Federation of Muslim Women Nigeria (FOWAN).
Others are Dr Perpetua Uhomoibhi, NEMC Secretariat/National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP); Shehu Ibrahim, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Vice President on Political and Economic Affairs; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF); Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health; Hon. Abubakar Dahiru, Chairman, House Committee on AIDS, TB and Malaria, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Hon. Ekumankama, Mahmuda Mamman, Permanent Secretary, Federal Minister of Health.
Buhari, during the inauguration of the council in Abuja on Tuesday said the government was projecting that the successful implementation of the Council’s agenda and savings from the estimated economic burden of the disease would save Nigeria about N687 billion in 2022 and N2 trillion by 2030.
According to the President, beyond improving the quality of life, health and well-being of Nigerians, the concerted strategy to tackle malaria has public health and socio-economic benefits for Nigeria.
He said, “Our inauguration today will therefore ensure that malaria elimination remains a priority on our agenda, with strong political commitment from leaders at all levels.
‘‘Additionally, the End Malaria Council will provide a platform to advocate for more funding to protect and sustain progress made so far by our country, and put us on a pathway to ending malaria for good.”
He added that the membership of the council reflected the government’s commitment to significantly reduce the malaria burden in Nigeria.
“I have been informed that the End Malaria Council (EMC) has already been established in other African countries, in line with the African Union Assembly Declaration for Establishment of EMC’s in Africa.
“EMCs have provided leadership, new funding and innovation to enable these countries stay on track to meet malaria burden reduction targets.
“I am optimistic that the setting up of the NEMC will do the same for Nigeria. I must add that with the additional advocacy and funding the Council will bring to the malaria control drive, we can anticipate a reduction in (the) malaria burden.
“This will ensure that our children, pregnant women, indeed all Nigerians are shielded from the disease. We must work together to reduce the unnecessary deaths attributable to malaria and ultimately improve the well-being of citizens.
“I implore the council to ensure best practices and innovative strategies in achieving its mandate.”