Over 300 youths are set to be empowered by the ExxonMobil Foundation in collaboration with the National Basketball Association and Africare to combat the scourge of malaria and other health challenges in the country.

According to a statement by the ExxonMobil Upstream Treasurer in Nigeria, Anibor Kragha the sponsors, under the auspices of Forward Initiative, would educate the participants on measures of preventing and controlling the disease.

He also said the project would support the National Malaria Control Programmes on youth development and public health.

In the statement, Kragha said:

“Malaria is the number one killer disease in the country and one will be amazed at the huge number of Nigerians that are oblivious to this fact. We hope that the training for youths would help improve present strategies used to prevent, treat and, ultimately, eliminate malaria, especially in pregnant women and children under five who constitute the most vulnerable.”

Pointing out the foundation's achievements, Kragha said the foundation through its malaria prevention programmes had reached more than 83 million people in Africa.

He added that the efforts had resulted in the distribution of over 13.1 million bed nets, 1.7 million anti malarial treatments and 942,000 diagnostic tests.

He also noted that ExxonMobil affiliates in Nigeria contributed between $10m (about N1.9 billion) and $12m (about N2.3 billion) on community assistance initiatives.

Further speaking on the initiative, the director in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Perpetua Uhomoibhi, said the programme was in accord with the government’s vision to check malaria in the country.