World Malaria Day is celebrated annually on the 25th day of April. It is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment in malaria prevention and control programmes. Malaria has become a major source of concern in our society, and defeating this common enemy requires concerted efforts through investments and innovation. This year’s theme: “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives” addresses the imperative of collective action toward achieving the 2030 targets of the WHO global malaria strategy.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were an estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627 000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2020. Compared with 2019, this represents about 14 million more malaria cases and 69 000 more deaths in 2020. Approximately two thirds of these additional deaths (47 000) were linked to disruptions in the provision of malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment during the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.
In Nigeria, one company that continues to support the fight against malaria and other communicable diseases is Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited/CNL Joint Venture. In the communities around its areas of operations in Nigeria, CNL invests in initiatives and programmes aimed at improving the health of members of such communities. Through partnerships, leadership, and financial resources, CNL continues to assist government and institutions in addressing health issues and has recorded significant success in this regard. CNL works to protect the health and safety of its employees, their registered spouses, dependents, and retirees.
CNL is committed to the fight against malaria through initiatives such as the Roll Back Malaria Program, Malaria in Pregnancy program, training of health workers, distribution of Intermittent Preventive Treatment and Artemisinin-based drugs, and Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets. The Roll Back Malaria programmes are specifically targeted at infants, children under 5 years of age and pregnant women who have been worst hit by malaria.
CNL’s partnerships with other organizations such as the Corporate Alliance for Malaria in Africa and PATH, two non-governmental organizations, through the National Malaria Elimination Programme, have helped in enhancing the support of the government’s vision to end malaria in Nigeria.
WHO recently recommended the world’s first malaria vaccine, RTS, S/ASO1, for children at risk in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate or high transmission of malaria. Also, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance has approved funding for a malaria vaccination programme, which is open to different countries.
With a new grant from Chevron Corporation, PATH will support the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria to inform their decision to adopt the malaria vaccination programme. Chevron and PATH view the vaccine adoption decision as key to ensuring that any future introduction of malaria vaccines in Nigeria reaches children in greatest need first. Chevron has also partnered with the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a non-governmental organization, in building resilient health systems in Nigeria.
Rick Kennedy, CNL’s Chairman and Managing Director explained that the partnership between Chevron and Global Fund is an example of how Chevron is contributing strategically to the development of Nigeria by helping to improve the health of its people.
He affirmed that Chevron has been one of the largest Global Fund corporate partners and its partnership focuses on capacity development initiatives, joint advocacy and communications campaigns, and other local initiatives. “Chevron also encourages its staff to share their skills with the local programs to help improve grant reach and performance,” he added.
CNL has continued to receive commendation for its commitment to the fight against malaria in Nigeria from both government and non-governmental organizations including the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and TruContact, a Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability monitoring organization, for its outstanding contributions to the provision of basic health services to the local communities of the Niger Delta.
Esimaje Brikinn, General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs explains further on CNL’s commitment to health development in Nigeria. “For us at Chevron, we are committed to adding value to communities where we do business. In this regard, we focus our social investments on health, education, and economic development, and we are always open to partnerships that will add value to the living conditions of Nigerians,” he declared.