ExxonMobil fights malaria in Africa

By Eric Watkins
Recent headlines have underscored efforts of the militant Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), determined to end what it sees as the exploitation of the region’s resources by international oil companies operating together with the government.

But little has been said about the good going on there, too, especially the part played by IOCs.

Recently, though, ExxonMobil Corp was heralded for its efforts to fight malaria in Nigeria, as well as other parts of Africa. The word came from Africare President Darius Mans who announced new investments from ExxonMobil to extend their partnership in its fight against malaria.

ExxonMobil, which has long been a supporter of Africare, will fund three key malaria prevention and intervention programs in Africa.

“ExxonMobil has been an invaluable partner to bettering the lives of those living in Africa,” said Mans. “The company's contributions – including not just funds, but their efforts to provide on-the-ground support, lend business expertise and increase the world’s awareness of the scourge of malaria – have saved countless lives on the continent.”

The new grants, which total $1,425,000, will enable thousands of additional children and families in Africa to receive the necessary care for managing malaria.

* The new pilot Malaria Prevention Promotion in Nigeria will reach more than 75,000 local contractors and suppliers and their families in the Delta region of the country with a package of malaria prevention, treatment and vector control services. The program also includes a media campaign to educate thousands more people in the same area about malaria prevention.

* Through a network of more than 2,000 community volunteers working with the Caconda Community-Based Malaria Intervention program, approximately 35,000 families in Angola will receive training and assistance to manage malaria in their homes, including educational materials, bed nets and access to medical treatment.

* An additional 600 volunteers – to a total of 2,640 – will be selected and trained to reach families with health education through the Angola Community Malaria Program. Volunteers are expected to reach 550,000 children under the age of five and women of child-bearing age via 51,000 house visits, health talks, plays and drama shows, and visits to traditional healers and community leaders.

“Africare is one of our long standing partners in the fight against malaria. As one of the largest private foreign investors in Africa, we know first-hand the health and economic impacts that malaria can have on the workforce, their families and the communities where they operate,” said ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson. “We want to ensure that families have access to the proper prevention and care, especially in the most vulnerable communities.”

MEND? ExxonMobil is clearly doing more to mend the situation in Nigeria than the militants.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com
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