Dangote named chair of malaria eradication council
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and chairman of Dangote Industries has been named the pioneer Chair of the National End Malaria Council (NMEC), a body established to eliminate the scourge of malaria in the country.
The National End Malaria Council (NMEC) was inaugurated by President Muhammad Buhari, in Abuja yesterday.
Dangote, who accepted the responsibility of chairing the Council, said the new function was in tandem with his current roles as the Nigerian Ambassador for Malaria, his role on the Global End Malaria Council, and with the work that his Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation is doing to mobilise the private sector to support malaria control in Nigeria in particular, and Africa at large.
While inaugurating the 16-member Council, President Buhari said 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 Council 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.
Buhari explained 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 that made his choice easy.
He expressed confidence that Dangote would bring his outstanding achievements to help the country achieve its goal of malaria elimination, adding that a group of eminent personalities, who have also made their mark across all walks of life, have been selected to work in the Council. He added that the membership of the Council reflects Government’s commitment to significantly reducing the malaria burden in Nigeria, to a level where it is no longer a public health issue.
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.
“It is with humility that I today accept the responsibility to be the Chair of the National Malaria Elimination Council. I am also grateful to the Minister, Federal Ministry of Health for nominating me to serve in this capacity. I would also like to express my gratitude to all the members of the Council for entrusting me with an enormous responsibility which I pledge to fulfil.