In commemoration of World Malaria Day last week, Stanbic IBTC PLC in partnership with Slum2School Africa, organised free medical tests, distributed mosquito treated nets and drugs to disadvantaged school children. Peter Uzoho who was there, reports
As if they understood ahead, the import of the intervention by unknown bodies, last weekend, the pupils of Adekunle Nursery and Primary School, Makoko, Yaba, Lagos State, were seen in their mixed attires, playing as a mark of their excitement for the upcoming event. Whether they understand the differences in their sexes was out of question, as they jumped upon one another with no caution. Their teachers were preoccupied with helping to arrange things for onward commencement of the occasion, so they had time to play unrestrained. As peculiar to them, they would quarrel in the process and would settle before the blinking of an eye.
However, being children who live in the slum, whose health on daily basis, is threatened by the malaria scourge, they were selected by concerned corporate and humanitarian organisations, Stanbic IBTC PLC and Slum2School, for treatment to stem the malaria scourge and in the process ensure that children and other community members in Makoko remain healthy.
The event began as the children were led to settle on their seats. They were distributed with cards as proof of their attendance and identification amidst rush. Similarly, the staff of Stanbic IBTC, Slum2School, parents and other guests’ presence were recognised.
Spicing up the event, a health educationist took the children on a discussion on the malaria sickness, its causes, prevention and control. Afterwards, distribution of mosquito treated nets, medical test and dispensation of drugs by the medical team of Slum2School Africa Organisation, followed chronologically.
Speaking on the side-line of the event, the Head, Marketing and Communications, Stanbic IBTC, Mrs. Nkiru Olumide-Ojo, said the distribution of the mosquito nets and similar interventions are Stanbic IBTC’s contribution towards ensuring that Nigerians, especially, the vulnerable children are free of malaria infection.
Olumide-Ojo noted that the corporate social investment philosophy of the bank focused on three key pillars of: education, health, and economic empowerment for the general well-being of the people, adding that Stanbic IBTC was determined to, in line with the 2016 theme for World Malaria Day, ‘End Malaria for Good’, eradicate malaria and other forms of diseases through appropriate interventions. She further said that through the intervention, children, irrespective of their social status or circumstances, would be diseases free so that they can concentrate on their education and live a higher quality life.
“Stanbic IBTC is a socially responsible organisation. We have a CSI value focused on the three key pillars of health, education and economic empowerment. Through this intervention, we hope to ensure that our children, irrespective of their social status or circumstance, are diseases free so that they can concentrate on their education and eventually live a higher quality of life,” said Olumide-Ojo.
However, she enjoined the pupils to ensure they imbibe cleanliness as a habit and use their mosquito nets as a preventive measure against malaria. Although she observed that malaria remains prevalent in Nigeria, but assured that Stanbic IBTC would continue to support initiatives that would help to eradicate the disease and the likes in the country.
On his part, the Team Lead, External Relations and Partnership Department, Slum2School Africa Organisation, Mr. Oluchukwu Banye, said “we are having this in partnership with Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC in commemoration of our medical outreach programme. They are partnering with us to provide mosquito nets and some clinical, and we are handing out those things to the children, who are the beneficiaries. And also, children who are diagnosed to have one form of illness or the other would be attended to by our medical team, in the adhoc clinic that we set up in the school for that purpose.
“The vision of our organisation is to transform the society by empowering disadvantaged children to realise their full potentials. We are a non-profit organisation that is in the educational sector, so we want to contribute to the development of Africa, through its human capital resources. And we decided that it will be a good start if we begin with the disadvantaged children, and the slum settlers are one of the people that we can classify as being disadvantaged people.
One of the teachers in the school, Mrs Philomena Kayode, who helped to coordinate the school children and distribution of the mosquito nets, thanked Stanbic IBTC and Slum2School for their kind gesture. She said “the mosquito nets distributed last year helped to boost school attendance among the pupils, as malaria-induced absences have drastically reduced.”
Kayode, however, called on other corporate organisations to emulate the commendable gesture. “We are full of appreciation to Stanbic IBTC and Slum2School for their efforts to ensure that our children, pregnant women and other members of the Makoko community enjoy good health. The malaria awareness talk and mosquito nets distributed last year helped in boosting our health and increased school attendance because our children are no longer staying away from school due to malaria. We are calling on other organisations to emulate this worthy gesture,” she said.