The Economic Community of West African States has started sensitising member countries of its plan to apply biolavicides to eliminate malaria from to region
By Maureen Chigbo/April 4, 2014, @ 18:01/
THE ECOWAS Commission has launched a regional sensitisation under the first phase of preparations for the planned region-wide application of biolarvicides for malaria elimination in the region using the vector control strategy. Speaking on behalf of Desire Ouedraogo, president of the ECOWAS Commission at a meeting flagging off the sensitisation in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, March 31, Ibrahim Bocar Ba, commissioner for Macro-economic Policy, said the application of biolarvicides, the substance that kills malaria-bearing mosquitoes at their larvae development stage would commence this year on ECOWAS Day, celebrated on May 28, in recognition of the ECOWAS vision 2020 for a citizen driven community.
At the heart of the pre-application sensitisation across the 15 ECOWAS member States, he said is the effective community sensitisation, mobilisation and participation coupled with the strong involvement of the armed forces of member states.
“The objective is to pool resources and join forces in the war against Malaria, a war which we can and must win for the benefit of community citizens and future generations,” the Commissioner told the gathering of ECOWAS and Member States’ officials, financial, health and environment experts, armed forces of Member States, parliamentarians, religious and community leaders, development partners and other stakeholders.
He commended ECOWAS’ development partners particularly Cuba and Venezuela, which under a Tripartite Agreement, are providing the financial support and technical know-how for the construction of three biolarvicide factories in the region. The factories which are to be constructed in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria for the region-wide spraying campaign, will ensure the large scale availability of the product which is safe for human health and the environment.
Ba reaffirmed the determination and commitment of ECOWAS and its member states to make the region malaria-free in line with the directive by regional leaders on the campaign, which received a major boost at the just-ended Ministerial Mediation and Security Council Meeting in Yamoussoukro, which endorsed the strong participation of national armed forces in the anti-Malaria war.
Aminata Ouattara-Coulibaly, who represented Cote d’Ivoire’s minister for African Integration and Ivorians in the Diaspora, highlighted the importance of the sensitisation meeting, coming on the heels of the just-concluded 44th Ordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government which approved the report of the Mediation and Security Council which among other things recommended the involvement of the military in the Malaria elimination campaign.
She outlined the humanitarian devastation caused by malaria and the socio-economic losses not just to the region but the whole of Africa, saying that this makes waging and winning the war against the scourge imperative.
Coulibaly then reiterated the commitment of the Government of Cote d’Ivoire to winning the war and called for all hands to be on deck for the success of the campaign.
Welcoming participants to the meeting, Mariane Ngoulla, the ECOWAS Health Advisor and focal person for the campaign, explained that the sensitisation exercise is designed to engender mobilization of efforts and resources, and also enlist strong community participation for a successful region-wide Malaria elimination drive.
Also attending the two-day meeting are representatives of Labiofam, the biolarvicide manufacturing Cuban firm, representatives of ECOWAS institutions, including the West African Health Organisation, WAHO, Civil society as well as social mobilisation and communications experts.
Presentations at the meeting will include those on the socio-economic impact of malaria; mechanism of procuring biolarvicides and the application; multi-sectoral expertise of Labiofam, Larval Source Management as part of malaria vector control in Africa, Mobilization of Communities for behavior change, and the experience of Nigeria’s Rivers State in the use of biolarvicides.
Malaria has killed and continues to kill more people than all armed conflicts combined in Africa with children under five years and pregnant women mostly at risk.
The World Health Organization’s, WHO, has concluded that vector control is the only intervention capable of reducing malaria transmission from high to zero level, reinforcing the ECOWAS resolve at strengthening the strategy to complement other interventions for a successful outcome.