The fight against malaria in Nigeria has been taken to another level with Africa richest man, Aliko Dangote teaming up with other influential private and public leaders including the co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates at
the just concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) that took place in Davos to form an ‘End Malaria Council’, a platform to ensure malaria eradication assumes a top priority globally.
Dangote has always championed concerted efforts to rid Nigeria and Africa of malaria which he said decimates the African workforce and the young ones, thus slowing down its economic growth.
According to him, the world without malaria is possible and that it is a challenge to all.
Other influential leaders on the council are President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Chadian President, Idriss Déby and the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete.
Those in the private sector include, the Founder, Chernin Group , Peter Chernin; Founder, Foundation for Community Development, Mozambique, Graca Machel, and the President, Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno.
Gates in a statement issued by the council on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, said the aim of the council was to use the influences of its members to drive attention and funding to end the disease for good.
According to him, malaria eradication remains a top global priority of the council.
He said, “The next chapter of the fight against malaria starts now. For the first time in history, we have a roadmap to a world without malaria – where no one has to die from a mosquito bite ever again. With renewed focus, innovation and new commitments of leadership and funding, we can be the generation to end malaria once and for all.”
Also, Jakaya Kikwete, whose brother died of malaria, said the incident was one of the reasons why he prioritised the eradication of the disease while he was in office.
Highlighting the focus of the council in Davos, Ray Chambers, noted that members would work in collaboration with the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and other stakeholders to help countries and regions achieve their malaria control and elimination goals.
Chambers also said that there was an urgent need for global leadership, new funding and innovation if countries were to meet global elimination targets.
He said that members of the group have pledged to use their voices and networks to support the work already underway by malaria field workers; scientists and experts develop new tools and strategies towards eradicating the disease.