World Malaria Day 2022: Lafarge flags off free medical outreach in C’River
By Kelvin Obambon
Lafarge has flagged off its free medical outreach in Akansoko community in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State to mark the 2022 World Malaria Day.
The exercise which is facilitated by the Mediatrix Development Foundation, Cross River State Ministry of Health and the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, took place on Monday at the Primary Health Centre, Akansoko.
Speaking on behalf of Lafarge Acting Plant Manager, Idara Uyok, the Health and Safety Manager, Mr Johnson Akubueze said Malaria is one of the biggest killer diseases with over 600,000 recorded mortality annually.
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He said April 25th every year is set aside as World Malaria Day to draw attention to the devastating impacts of Malaria on the health of people, especially women and children and to also create awareness on the possible ways of preventing the parasite.
While stating the theme of the 2022 World Malaria Day, which is, “Harness Innovation to Reduce the Malaria Disease Burden and Save Lives”, Akubueze declared that “We in Lafarge we are the promoters of health. One thing that concerns us most is the health of our employees. Each year we organize a comprehensive health check to be sure that all the contractors and employees working for us are healthy. It’s because of that that we are also transferring this to the communities.”
In the same vein, the Chief Operating Officer of Mediatrix Development Foundation, Mr Adamade Jeffrey, said the Foundation has been partnering with Lafarge in the last couple of years to deliver free medical outreach, which is part of the Corporate Social Responsibility of the company to its host communities.
He said the free medical outreach covers, amongst other ailments, Malaria testing and treatment, eye care, HIV/AIDs testing, distribution of drugs and Insecticide Treated Nets.
“We are marking World Malaria Day, facilitating it for Lafarge Africa. This is a partnership we’ve had with Lafarge for a long time now. Also, we are kicking off the free medical outreach for the 10 communities covering the Lafarge environment. It’s more or less like a CSR project for them. It’s a facility-based outreach. We are doing free consultation, free drugs, eye care services, normal check up for the most vulnerable. Our major focus are women and children under the age of 5”, Jeffrey said.
Also speaking, Mr Edem Ene, the Roll Back Malaria focal person in Akpabuyo, thanked Lafarge and the Mediatrix Foundation for choosing Akpabuyo for the flag off of the programme.
He also thanked the Presidential Malaria Initiative for State (PMI-S) for graciously supporting 20 health facilities in the local government area through the provision of free malaria commodities.
On his part, the Chairman of Community Relations Committee (CRC) for Lafarge, Ntufam Alphonsus Bassey, said in addition to the free medical outreach carried out by Lafarge annually, the company also gives scholarship to indigenes of host communities.
He further explained that “Last year this event was flagged off at Mfamosing. We have 10 pilot communities who are Lafarge landlords – 4 in Calabar Municipality and 6 in where the plant is located. Mfamosing is in Akamkpa local government. So this year we decided to flag it off here in Akansoko which is in Akpabuyo local government.
“This year’s event seems to be a little bit different because we are marking it together with World Malaria Day. We are so grateful to Lafarge for finding them within our land, and they are giving back to the society what belong to us.
“They also have what we call the school support. They do give some amount of money to people within the communities who are in secondary school and tertiary institution. This is part of what they are doing here for us and we are so happy about it. They will visit other communities to continue with the free medical outreach.”
The free medical outreach will continue till the end of May 2022 in the 10 host communities, namely Diamond, Essien Town, Kasuk and Obutong.
Others are, Akansoko, Abiati, Akwa Ikot Effanga, Ekong Anaku, Mbobui and Mfamosing.