Standard Chartered Bank Ghana has initiated a project, dubbed “Nets for Life”, a community partnership programme aimed at reducing the impact of malaria in the country.
The three-year project, which forms part of the bank's future Leaders Programme for Ghana's 50th anniversary celebration, would target children and the vulnerable group in society to ensure a healthy future for the youth.
Forty nine thousand five hundred Long-lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLITNs) will be distributed to endemic communities in the country under the programme. The initial focus would be on the three northern regions.
The $12-million project is also being undertaken in 15 other sub-Saharan countries where there is high incidence of malarial cases.
The bank and its partners — the Anglican Church, the Coca-Cola African Foundation and Exxon-Mobil — are jointly sponsoring the initiative.
The programme, which was launched at a ceremony in Tamale, was preceded by a procession of students and staff of the bank, Coca-Cola and some members of the Anglican Church through some principal streets of the metropolis.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank for Central and West Africa, Mr Ebby Essoka, explained that his outfit initiated the project because “malaria continues to be a significant health risk threatening the population in most of our markets”.
He said apart from creating awareness and distributing the nets, the bank would be exploiting the natural, economic and geographical advantages Ghana could provide for the control of transmission of the disease.
“It is important to note that in Ghana, under our Standard Chatered-Ghana at 50 Future Leaders Programme, Net for Life is one of our legacy contributions to the anniversary celebrations,” Mr Essoka said.
The CEO further disclosed that under the programme, the bank would distribute 5000 dual desks valued at ¢2.3 billion to 50 deprived schools in the country. Each beneficiary institution would receive 100 desks.
Mr Essoka also said that the bank had initiated some community projects on curative sight restoration, HIV/AIDS and the construction of boreholes for needy communities across the country between 2004 and 2006.
The incoming Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Elias Sory, advised the people to embark on sustainable environmental sanitation exercises as a preventive measure against contracting the malarial disease that continued to be among the leading causes of death in the country annually.
The Anglican Bishop of the Tamale Diocese, Rt Reverend Emmanuel Arongo, said the church was committed to fighting against poverty and disease, which, he noted, was unfortunately prevalent in the north.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, commended the bank and its partners for such a laudable venture and pledged the preparedness of the Regional Co-ordinating Council to support the initiative and ensure that the programme became successful in the region.
Story by Zakaria Alhassan