ECOWAS team begins feasibility studies on biolavicide factory in Port-Harcourt

| January 4, 2013 | 0 Comments

The much-debated plan to build a factory that would help West African countries launch a biological warfare against mosquitoes may become a reality after all. This is because a team from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has at last arrived Rivers State to begin feasibility studies on the construction of the biolarvaciding factory. 

The team also visited the Rivers State Commissioner of Health, Tam Parker, who declared that the state government had taken decisive steps toward the implementation of the malaria elimination strategies.

The Commissioner disclosed that ECOWAS had agreed that Port Harcourt would be the site of the factory to carter for Nigeria and neighbouring countries in the Sub region.

He reiterated that two years ago, there was a meeting in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, where it was decided that the way forward for the elimination of malaria was to go the organic way in fighting mosquitoes. ‘‘We went to Cuba with an agreement with Venezuela to set up two factories in West Africa, one in Nigeria, one in Ghana and probably one in Cote d’ Ivoire,’’ the Commissioner explained.

According to Parker, Cuba is expected to provide the technology with grant from Venezuela. The project could cost as high as $20m. The factory may produce larvae-eating elements that would be introduced in the environment to attack mosquitoes from the egg state.

At the moment, the Rivers State has been spraying mosquito killing substances with the aid of helicopters but each time the governor asked about the effect, most people still complained of mosquito attacks. This had created doubts in the mind of the state government on the potency of the Cuba-backed technology.

Meanwhile, members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in the state led by their chairman, Faye Korubo, had called for the establishment of a medical school in Rivers State “to take care of the manpower needs in the primary health centres and other healthcare institutions”, though the University of Port Harcourt has a medical college.

Korubo, who paid a visit to the Head of Service in the state, Samuel LongJohn, also suggested the re-organization of the free healthcare programme for 60 year-olds and above and children less than five years. He urged the state government to look into issues bordering on the implementation of policies detrimental to the welfare of workers especially the taxation issue where allowances of medical doctors were taxed.

In his response, the head of service said the idea of a medical school would help improve human capacity development in the healthcare delivery sector, promising to use his offices to push for more training for medical doctors.

He hinted on welfare provisions especially a housing whereby 300 houses have been set aside for workers but declined to help stop taxing of their pay. Rather, he said a committee, comprising Labour Unions and other relevant bodies, had been set up to look into possible ways of ameliorating the impact of the new tax regime in the state on workers.

He maintained that the taxation issue was not peculiar to Rivers State alone, as according to him, the law emanated at the Federal level.

 

Culled from :Here

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