President Muhammadu Buhari has 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.
Speaking at the inauguration today in Abuja, President Buhari told the 16-member Council headed by the founder and president of Dangote Group, 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.
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 percent of deaths globally.
On his choice of Dangote to chair the Council, President Buhariexplained that it was in recognition of the track record and passion of Africa’s richest man in supporting initiatives on various health issues such as polio and primary health care system strengthening.
In their separate remarks, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, and the Minister of State for Health, Joseph Ekumankama Nkama, said since 2010, Nigeria has been recording a continuous decline in malaria from 42 per cent in 2010, 27 per cent in 2015 to 23 per cent in 2018.
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.
The new council is expected to drive the Federal Government’s commitment to end malaria in Nigeria.
The Council members are: 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), Sen. Yahaya Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Board of Directors, UBA, Folurunsho Alakija, CEO, Rose of Sharon Group, Herbert Wigwe, CEO, Access Bank, Femi Otedola, CEO Forte Oil, among others.