Blair Talks About Combating Malaria In Nigeria, Part Of 3-Nation African Trip

“Former British prime minister Tony Blair on Saturday called for concerted efforts to combat malaria in Nigeria which accounts for a quarter of the [nearly] one million malaria deaths annually in Africa,” Agence France-Presse writes (2/20). Blair is scheduled to visit Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone on a three-country trip to Africa, VOA News writes (Ssali, 2/20).

At a workshop to train Christian and Muslim leaders in fighting malaria, Blair said, “Malaria has no barrier and does not discriminate. When we think of malaria we think particularly of children and women, and how to prevent it becomes particularly imperative.” According to AFP, “The workshop – held in Nigeria’s administrative capital Abuja – focused on the use of bed nets to help prevent contracting malaria … The pilot plan looks to train 300,000 Muslim and Christian faith leaders in a bid to support the government’s anti-malaria scheme using an ‘innovative interfaith model.'”

Blair praised the Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association (NIFAA), an alliance of Muslims and Christians, for joining together to fight malaria, adding that the program “can be readily adopted to join the state and public sector in other developing countries if government and funders are willing to provide external support to make this a reality,” AFP reports (2/20). The workshop received “funding support from the Nigerian government, the World Bank, the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty (CIFA), and other international funders,” according to a Tony Blair Faith Foundation press release (2/22). Blair said his trips to Liberia and Sierra Leone will focus on “building capacities for governance” and “said the ultimate solution to many problems in Africa is good governance,” VOA News writes (2/20). 

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