Special Olympics Nigeria (SO Nigeria) through her ExxonMobil Foundation sponsored Skillz For Life initiative, will today host a day filled with activities and fun to commemorate the 2018 World Malaria Day themed â€œReady To Beat Malariaâ€.
The event will hold at CMS Grammar School Bariga, Lagos.
Since 2015, SO Nigeria has commemorated World Malaria Day in a continuous effort to raise awareness on the need to combat malaria and reduce its prevalence among people with intellectual disability (PWID), and the community at large.
Attendees of this yearâ€™s event would be invited to participate in a family health forum (FHF) where health talks on malaria, HIV and their adverse effects on the community will be given as well as Voluntary Counseling and Testing on malaria and HIV.
World Malaria Day was established in May 2007 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Observed every year on the 25th of April, it is a day earmarked to raise awareness on the need for continuous investment and support to various countries, in their efforts to combat malaria and its related problems, as well as provide information and support where necessary for communities prone to malaria.
People with intellectual disability fall into this category, as they are a highly marginalised group in our society.
This exclusion results in them having little or no access to vital health information and proper health care to deal with the prevention and treatment of malaria, HIV and other diseases. SO Nigeria has taken the lead in the campaign to eradicate malaria among PWIDs.
In collaboration with Grassroots Soccer, the Skillz for Life initiative uses football as a learning tool to teach about the prevention and treatment of malaria. The programme also engages families and communities by driving vital conversations that challenge stereotypes and encourage acceptance and inclusion of PWIDs.
In the last three years, the Skillz For Life initiative has been implemented in three geopolitical zones in Nigeria with over 6,000 PWIDs participating and graduating from the programme. Across these three regions – South West, South East and South South – nineteen interactive family health forums (FHF) have been conducted with about 3996 family members and 4000 athletes in attendance, and over 4500 treated mosquito nets have been distributed as well.
About 90% of participants, family members and community members have reported a high level of adherence to the health information they received during the programme, mentioning specifically, the consistent use of the treated mosquito nets in their homes.
This year, SO Nigeria plans to implement in the North Central and South South regions of Nigeria.