No fewer than 60, 000 school children in Ondo state are to benefit from the mass deworming programme organised by the joint ventures of the NNPC/Chevron, the leading oil giants in the country.
The mass deworming exercise which was flagged off on Friday in Idanre Local Government Area of the state will drew beneficiaries (pupils) from three LGAs of Owo, Idanre and Okitipupa.
Esimaje Brikinn, General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs (PGPA) of Chevron who disclosed at the flag off of the deworming exercise.
He said that the exercise is part of the several health intervention programmes undertaken by the joint venture to contribute to the ongoing efforts at building a healthy nation.
Brikinn, represented by Gbenga Aluko, the Director of Government Affairs, said that deworming exercise, targeted at a total of sixty thousand children is designed to make them healthier as the parasites (worm) which snapped their energies are destroyed.
According to him, the NNPC/Chevron had in 2013 during its first phase of the deworming exercise dewormed no less than 80, 000 school pupils drawn from three Local Government Areas of the state.
He said that the joint venture decided to embarked on the deworming programme for children below the age of 12 years as the ailment has assumed an alarming dimension which required a concerted effort from all relevant stakeholders.
“In this programme, the target children would be given safe and effective medicines produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Limited to eliminate infecting worms while there is also a health education aspect to ensure that children are taught how to avoid re-infection through personal hygiene.
Brikkin also disclosed that Chevron had been using the strategic investment of the joint venture to add values to the live of the people in the country mostly in the war against the spread of HIV/ AIDS.
“For example, in helping to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, we directed $5 million of the $30 million we contributed to the Global fund.
“In 2008, to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS in support of AIDS treatment programs.
“In 2015, Chevron committed an additional $5 million to Nigeria through the Global Fund to support prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV”, he added.
Speaking at the flag off ceremony, Wife of the Ondo State Governor, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu observed that the deworming exercise would help grow the health statues of the school children while soliciting for proper hygienic environment among the people.
Mrs. Akeredolu who commended the contributions of the joint partner venture (NNPC/Chevron) to the development of the health sector of the state, also pleaded personal hygiene among the school pupils.
She later emphasised the need for a continuous collaboration between the government and the private sector in order to achieve qualitative health care delivery for the basic hygiene of children in the state.
Earlier, Mr. Femi Agagu, the state Commissioner for Education said the deworming exercise would help the children to develop well and boost their learning capabilities in the society.
“This great intervention from NNPC/ Chevron Joint Venture will give each of these pupils the opportunity of a good future because the future of a child depends on sound health and education”
Also, his counterparts from the Ministry of Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, aurged that worm infestation was a leading cause of ill health among school age children mostly in developing countries.
Mr. Adegbenro, however, solicited the need for the children to be deworm every three months in order to improve their health wise and growth.