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President Buhari Appoints Dangote chairman of 16 Member Council to Help Nigeria Eradicate Malaria

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated Nigeria End Malaria Council (NEMC), 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.

The President told the 16-member Council headed by the founder and president of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, that beyond improving the quality of life, health and well-being of Nigerians, the concerted strategy to tackle malaria had both public health as well as socio-economic benefits for Nigeria.

‘‘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,’’ the President said.

Expressing concern that the age-long disease had remained a major public health challenge in Nigeria, the President cited the World Health Organisation (WHO) report of 2021, showing that Nigeria alone accounts for 27 per cent of all cases of malaria and 32 per cent of deaths globally.

‘‘Malaria infection can cause severe disease and complication in pregnant women and lead to high rates of miscarriage.

‘‘It is also responsible for a considerable proportion of deaths in infants and young children, with children under 5 years being the most vulnerable group affected. These are reasons we must not relent in fighting malaria.’’

In his acceptance speech, Dangote thanked the President and all members of the Council for entrusting him with the enormous responsibility, pledging to work hard to achieve the mandate.

“I must confess that this resonates with my current role as the Nigerian Ambassador for Malaria, my role on the Global End Malaria Council and with the work that my Foundation is doing to mobilise the private sector to support malaria control in Nigeria and Africa at large,” he said.

The Council members include Permanent Secretary, Office of the Vice President on Political and Economic Affairs, Shehu Ibrahim; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum; Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Sen. Yahaya Oloriegbe; Chairman, House Committee on AIDS, TB and Malaria, Abubakar Dahiru; Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Ekumankama; and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Minister of Health, Mahmuda Mamman.

Others include Chairman, Board of Directors, UBA, Tony Elumelu; CEO, Rose of Sharon Group, Folurunsho Alakija; CEO, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe; CEO Forte Oil, Femi Otedola; President, National Council of Women Societies, Lami Lau; Emertius Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, John Onaiyekan; National Amira, Federation of Muslim Women Nigeria, Rafiyat Sanni; and NEMC Secretariat/National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr Perpetua Uhomoibhi.

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