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ECOWAS signs agreement with Cuba for the Elimination of Malaria in West Africa by 2015

By Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)
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ABUJA, Nigeria, April 25, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- ECOWAS and the Republic of Cuba have agreed new measures to revive their collaboration towards the elimination of malaria in West Africa by 2015 through a control and elimination programme.

The measures are contained in a framework agreement signed at the end of the second visit of a high-level ministerial delegation led by the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Toga Mcintosh, in which both parties reiterated the viability of their mutual objective of achieving the eventual elimination of malaria by that date. The delegation included the health ministers of Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria.

The collaboration is anchored on the elimination of mosquito larvae through the spraying of biolarvicides on their habitats, a product of LABIOFAM S.A. of Cuba.

Under the agreement, Cuba agreed to continue to engage bilaterally with Member States, particularly Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso where pilot implementation has already started for the Malaria elimination programme leveraging on the multilateral platform created by the ECOWAS Commission and Cuba for the successful implementation of this programme

Both parties agreed to develop a plan to import the product from Cuba for use in these three countries during the first phase prior to roll out in other Member States followed by local production in Ghana and Nigeria by the middle of 2014 and then Cote d'Ivoire between 2015 and 2016.

The agreement also calls for the development of a joint plan of action for a two-phased training of local personnel in West Africa on the effective application of biolarvicides. The first phase will focus on members of the armed forces followed by the training of Community citizens, private sector operators, vector control specialists and entomologists.

Modalities for Technology Transfer, Technical Service arrangements, capacity building, Patenting and licensing are also expected to be concluded by the end of December 2012 under the agreement.

While in the country, the delegation which also included the Vice President of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), the Director of Private Sector of the ECOWAS Commission, the Health Advisor to the President of ECOWAS and Malaria Programme Managers from Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria met ministers and key government officials from the Ministries of Health, External Trade and Investment and Foreign Affairs between 12th and 13th April 2012.

The delegation later continued to Caracas, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to follow up on an MOU signed on funding support for malaria elimination.

This second visit is a follow-up to a high-level ministerial mission that resulted in the signing of an MOU establishing collaboration between Cuba and the ECOWAS Commission for the fight against malaria in West Africa, using the technology of LABIOFAM.