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Special Olympics Nigeria Commemorates 2019 World Malaria Day

Special Olympics Nigeria Commemorates 2019 World Malaria Day

Special Olympics Nigeria (SO Nigeria) through her ExxonMobil Foundation sponsored Skillz For Life initiative celebrated the 2019 World Malaria Day in Ibadan the Oyo state capital on the 11th of May 2019 at Home School For The Handicapped, Ijokodo, Ibadan. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Zero Malaria Starts With Me”. Though this event is officially celebrated on the 25th April every year, SO Nigeria chose to celebrate it on this day to ensure that people with intellectual disabilities (PWIDs) in the state education system had the chance to fully participate in this historic event after the Easter holidays. Over three hundred and fifty (350) PWIDs and their family members from all over Ibadan and its surrounding environs attended this year’s event. Also, in attendance were community members from around the Ijokodo community who were truly amazed at the great work Special Olympics Nigeria is doing with PWIDs in the state.

The programme commenced at exactly 10:00 am with an opening speech by the project coordinator of the Special Olympics Nigeria Skillz For Life programme Oboh Ameator Sylvester who talked about the need for continuous awareness creation and provision of necessary support to communities prone to malaria infection which according to him is what the World Malaria Day signifies. His speech was followed by a Health Talk on Malaria Infection; Causes, Prevention and Treatment given by Mr. Olusegun Raphael of Royal Heritage Health Foundation. Mr Raphael spoke on the causes of Malaria infection emphasizing that malaria is only transmitted by the female anopheles’ mosquito when it bites humans. He stated that the best ways to prevent malaria infection are by sleeping under insecticide treated nets and keeping our environment clean and free from stagnant water. Malaria treatment he advised should only be sought from qualified medical professionals who will subject the patient to series of tests to confirm the presence of the parasite before prescribing relevant treatment. He equally advised against the use of traditional herbs (Agbo) for the treatment of malaria.

Malaria testing was conducted for everybody present at the event by medical staff of the Royal Heritage Foundation and those who test positive to malaria were given anti malaria drugs. Insecticide treated nets was distributed to all present. HIV testing was also conducted for all present at the event.

The highlight of the event was the unified soccer match between “Team Doctor” and “Team Malaria”. The match ended in favour of “Team Doctor” who defeated “Team Malaria by Five goals to four on penalties after playing a 3 – 3 draw during regular time.

Special Olympics Nigeria will continue her work with people with intellectual disabilities in the North West and North Central regions of Nigeria. In collaboration with Grassroot Soccer South Africa, and with the generous support of the ExxonMobil Foundation, SO Nigeria will be implementing the Skillz For Life Malaria and HIV education programme among PWIDs in these regions. This programme which has been on since 2015 and has already been implemented in the South West, South East, South South and parts of the North Central regions of Nigeria uses football as a teaching tool to educate PWIDs on Malaria and HIV prevention and treatment thereby helping them make decisions that will positively impact their health and overall wellbeing. The programme also engages families and communities by driving vital conversations that challenge negative stereotypical beliefs thereby encouraging acceptance and inclusion of PWIDs.

Click here to view pictures from this event. 

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