Access Bank commemorates World Mosquito Day 2018
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted among humans by infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. In 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries. This constitutes an increase of five million cases compared to 2015. Malaria deaths reached 445,000 in 2016, while 446,000 deaths were recorded in the previous year.
The Sub Saharan Africa region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2016, the region was home to 90% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths. At country level, Nigeria accounts for the world’s greatest malaria burden. Approximately 51 million cases and 207,000 deaths are reported annually ( about 30% of the total malaria burden in Africa) are in Nigeria. Meanwhile, 97% of the country’s total population (approximately 173 million) is at risk of infection.
Today, leading public and private sector organisations are coming together to pool resources to fight against this deadly disease. Indeed, malaria accounts for a major share of global investments in health. Over the years, Access Bank Plc has contributed significantly to the fight against the disease. In 2010, the Bank’s SME Workplace Policy Programme provided training to enhance the capacity of 250 SMEs to enable them develop workplace policies and scale-up health programmes, which address multiple health challenges, including malaria.
Also in 2010, Access Bank contributed US$1 million to Global Fund’s ‘Gift from Africa’ project. The donation was used by Global Fund to implement various strategic projects to combat malaria, amongst other diseases across Africa.
In 2016, the Bank launched the Malaria-toZero initiative. The initiative is aimed at scaling-up the impact of national malaria interventions in Nigeria by galvanising private sector resources to close the funding gap in the country’s malaria elimination agenda. Through this initiative, over 30,000 Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) have been distributed so far to communities and primary health centres. Over 4,537 pregnant women have been reached, and over one million people have been sensitized on malaria, its prevention and management.
Furthermore, Access Bank’s Group CEO, Herbert Wigwe, serves as the co-Chair of Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA), a group of private sector organisations with business interests in Africa. CAMA pools efforts to combat malaria on the continent. The Bank is also a member of the Global Business Coalition on Health (GBC Health) – a coalition of more than 230 companies working to improve the health of their workforces and communities around the world. The group’s focus areas include reducing maternal, new-born and child mortality; and advancing efforts to combat HIV, TB and malaria.
As part of the global efforts to fight malaria and its impact, on the 20th of August, every year, the world comes together to commemorate World Mosquito Day (WMD). The day is commemorated and celebrated to mark the historic discovery made by British medical doctor, Sir Roland Ross. He discovered in 1897 that female mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting malaria among humans.
WMD aims to bring awareness to people all over the world about the causes of malaria disease, its effects, and preventive measures. This awareness is also expected to help in raising funds for malaria-related research.
Access Bank, as part of its commitment to improving the health of communities where the Bank operates, joined the world on this global initiative, partnering with CAMA, GBC Health and HACEY Health Initiative to commemorate the WMD 2018 through the implementation of strategic engagement programmes. These programmes included sensitisation of the general public on malaria, its prevention and management; and distribution of LLINs across underserved communities in western Nigeria.
Furthermore, a short video documentary on malaria aimed at educating people on challenges and actions to end malaria across Africa was distributed across various online and traditional media platforms. Media interviews to educate the general public on the deadly disease were executed across different locations nation-wide. Also, a massive awareness campaign was executed on social media, reaching thousands of Nigerians.
Speaking on the WMD 2018, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Access Bank’s Head of Sustainability, explained that, “according to the World Malaria Report 2017, the global response to malaria is at a crossroads. After an unprecedented period of success in malaria control, progress has stalled and the current pace is insufficient to achieve the 2020 milestones of the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030. We must, therefore, increase our efforts and scale-up strategic interventions as the private sector – working hand-in-hand with stakeholders in the public sector – to increase our impacts locally in order to contribute significantly to the global progress on malaria elimination.”
Access Bank, as a leading financial institution driving sustainable development in Africa and across the world, continues to show its commitment to promoting good health and well-being for all, through its strategic and innovative partnerships, investments, interventions and initiatives. The Bank aims to scale-up the positive outcomes, which include creating truly healthy and sustainable communities.