The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has donated N50 million to fund its Professorial Chair on Malaria Elimination and Phytomedicine Research programme at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT).
The commission’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Ibitoye Abosede said in a statement on Wednesday that NDDC’s Managing Director, Nsima Ekere inaugurated the governing board for the research programme.
Ekere, who was represented by the commission’s Executive Director of Projects, Mr Samual Adjogbe said the fund would be used to fight malaria in the region.
He also said the fund would be used to control, curtail breeding and transmission as well as reduce the cost of malaria treatment because of its prevalence in tropical Africa, particularly in the Niger Delta.
“The endowment (fund) will be redeemed in two instalments of N25 million per annum for an initial period of two years. The commission has, however, released the first tranche of N25 million,” he said.
The managing director said the programme would also look into malaria spread and increasing resistance and reactions to existing drugs.
“As malaria incidence increases, so does morbidity and mortality rates. Children, pregnant women and non-immune individuals are most vulnerable. Also, malaria morbidity brings along with it social and economic consequences,” Ekere said.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Ndowa Lale said board members of the research programme were carefully selected from the best universities, assuring of optimal utilisation of the fund.
The Chair Occupant of the programme, Prof. Chijioke Nwauche said the researchers would also explore alternative approaches to malaria control.
He urged NDDC to build a malaria house equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories to enhance the research project.