Port Harcourt — The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited NLNG, has signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, to make Bonny Island, its operational base, malaria free.
The MoU was signed in Abuja by NLNG’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Tony Attah on behalf of NLNG and the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.
Through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, PMI, USAID will provide technical assistance to NLNG’s led Bonny Island Malaria Elimination Project, BNYMEP.
BNYMEP seeks to reduce the malaria burden, move the community to pre-elimination status, bring malaria-related mortality to zero, and make Bonny Island Nigeria’s first malaria-free zone.
The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative is focused on reducing malaria-related mortality by 50 percent across 24 high-burden developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria and three Southeast Asian countries, through rapid scale-up of four proven and highly effective malaria prevention and treatment measures.
The MoU also includes a partnership between NLNG and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, regarding support to the HIV/AIDS Surge Project, which focusses on the control of Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Bonny Island.
Speaking, at the signing ceremony, NLNG boss, Tony Attah, said the company commenced the Bonny Malaria Elimination Project (BNYMEP) in January 2019, as part of its vision to transform Bonny Island into a tourism and economic hub in the West African region.
Attach further stated that a malaria-free zone was key to attracting investments to the Island, which will positively impact the socio-economic well-being of its residents.
“We are ready to put Bonny Island on the map as one the first malaria-free community in Nigeria and a reference point in the global eradication of the disease. Malaria has impacted negatively on health care in Nigeria, and it is time to change the narrative.
“It is time to free ourselves of the economic burden that this scourge has imposed on us for years, freeing available resources to tackle other issues and to attain more Sustainable Developmental Goals.
“We hope to set a precedence with a workable model for private sector participation in SDGs’ achievement. These goals align with our vision of helping to build a better Nigeria.”
Also, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, said at the ceremony that reducing the burden of malaria and HIV/AIDS in Bonny Island, were goals now within their reach.
“This partnership moves us closer to achieving those goals. I commend the efforts of NLNG to meet its social responsibility in helping the economic climate of Bonny Island by improving the health of its residents.”
Malaria has remained one of the deadliest diseases globally, and Nigeria still records a high number of casualties. NLNG has a record of intervention in combating the scourge, with programmes such as Roll Back Malaria Campaign as well as staking $100,000 in its sponsored CSR programme, The Nigeria Prize for Science, in search for solutions to the disease.
On Roll Back Malaria Campaign, NLNG supported efforts of both the Federal and Rivers State governments to roll back malaria in all its host communities in the state, through improved sanitation habits and use of mosquito/insecticide treated bed nets.