• Thursday, April 25, 2024
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$23m biolarvicides factory in Port Harcourt to employ 500 workers

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  Over 500 workers would be engaged in the biolarvicides factory about to begin in Port Harcourt, Rivers State aimed at giving malaria a fight through industrial production of larva-eating agents.

The ground-breaking ceremony is to be done in the coming days, according to the Rivers State commissioner of health, Sampson Parker. The project had been stalled since 2009 since the idea was broached in Port Harcourt.

The biological warfare against mosquito is a joint effort between the Rivers State government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with other international collaborating agencies such as the United Nations, World Bank and other West African neighbouring states and the Federal Ministry of Health. A Cuban company, Labiofam, is to provide technical support.

The ground-breaking event is to go together with a town hall forum on war against malaria jointly with the partners. Both the state government and ECOWAS hold equal equity in the plant.

The project was muted as a Rivers State project in partnership with the Cubans when Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi came to power in 2007 but the need to broaden the mosquito war within the entire West African region forced the partners to court ECOWAS countries through the common platform. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, former head of ECOWAS bureaucracy, had been in and out of Port Harcourt on other engagements but this could have featured prominently on the card, outside public glare.

Parker had said in 2009 that the factory would take $23 million to build, and when operational, the factory was to produce the chemicals that would be used to eradicate malaria carriers. “But we cannot wait for the factory to be ready in 18 months, so, we have concluded plans to import the chemicals and begin the battle”.

He had said it would cost $6 million to import this and another $6 million to carry out the exercise. Explaining, Parker said the other second $6 million would pay for expatriate technical experts, cars, equipment, etc to launch the war. “The figure is not fixed because if we provide any equipment, the amount is reduced”.

The biological warfare approach began with a pact with the Cubans to use of insecticide treated nets, combination treatments, indoor residual spraying, rapid diagnosis test kits, including environmental sanitation campaigns, the health boss stated. “But when we came, ECOWAS said, we can eliminate malaria, and we added to it biolaviociding”.

The effort also involved use of aircraft to spray in the sky, an effort that caused stirs, hopes and exaggerated expectations and dashed hopes 

 

IGNATIUS CHUKWU