Heritage Bank Plc has joined the world to commemorate the 2020 World Malaria Day, amid fears that paying much emphasis on the novel Coronavirus Pandemic could reinforce progress on the mosquito-borne disease, especially in Africa.


The theme of the World Malaria Day 2020, is entitled, “Zero Malaria Starts with Me,” which is a grassroots campaign, first launched in Senegal in 2014. In canvassing for fight against the malaria scourge and calling on all stakeholders to take proactive action in renewing their focus on eliminating malaria by 2030 as targeted by World Health Organisation, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo said that zero malaria starts with every one of us working together for a more prosperous and healthy future for all. This call is coming against the backdrop of the global rise in malaria cases with the recent warning by WHO that the number of deaths caused by malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa could double to 769,000 this year, as efforts to curb the disease are disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


According to WHO, in 2018, there were 213 million malaria cases and 360,000 related deaths in the African region, accounting for over 90 per cent of global cases. The WHO said if the focus on slowing the spread of the new virus leads to a reduction by three quarters of access to anti-malaria medicines, deaths could double to 769,000. “Countries across the region have a critical window of opportunity to minimise disruptions in malaria prevention and treatment and save lives at this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the WHO said in a statement. It further alarmed that the doubling of the number of deaths represents the worst case scenario, which also assumes the suspension of all distribution of treated mosquito nets due to the pandemic.


However, Sekibo stated that malaria in Nigeria and Africa as a whole has been an unceasing prevalence and dilemma for communities, posing a challenge that has made eradication seem almost impossible. In his call for collaboration to eliminate the disease in various society, Sekibo emphasized that to attain the global targets on malaria and the goals of Nigeria’s national malaria tactical plan would only be feasible through greater investment and expanded coverage of core tools to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria. Sekibo stated that as part of the bank drive to support the fight against malaria, Heritage Bank proposes to focus on how malaria makes people susceptible to the present pandemic (COVID-19) in the world, whilst sensitizing the public on its social media platforms on COVID-19 as it relates to malaria.


He further hinted that the overly concerns of exposure to COVID-19, as malaria and the virus have some symptoms in common which includes fever, headache and body pain, hence measures normally taken for malaria interventions have been suspended, which leaves vulnerable population (pregnant women and children) at a greater risk of contracting it. Sekibo stressed that early detection of malaria and proper management will reduce the mortality risk associated with COVID-19, whilst noting that community sensitization and mobilization around the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria is of great importance.



Heritage Bank will increase wallet of business transactions with Lagos State Govt - George-Taylor
L-R: Dr. Sophia Horsefall, Corporate Relations Manager, SPDC; Osepiribo Ben-Willie, Executive Director of Heritage Bank and Ivy Davies-Etokakpan, President of Eveafrique News at the Women Must Conference 2.0, titled “The Woman and Her Must” organised by The Kilali Tribe held in Port Harcourt.


Heritage Bank is agent for actualisation of SDG 5-Gender Equality, women empowerment – Kilali Tribe

05/12/2022:  Heritage Bank has been commended for being an agent for the actualisation of Sustainable Development Goals SDG 5 – Gender Equality, as well women empowerment for socio-economic growth.

This was stated by Kilali Tribe at the Women Must Conference 2.0, titled “The Woman and Her Must” organised by The Kilali Tribe which held in Port Harcourt.

The Kilali Tribe is an association of prolific Rivers and Bayelsa State women who come together to support themselves through peer learning, capacity-building initiatives, networking, and mentoring. Also, provide similar structured support to other women within the community.

Speaking at the event, Ivy Davies-Etokakpan, President of Eveafrique News who also member of Kilali Tribe, commended Heritage Bank for taking the lead in championing the empowerment of women over the years in the country.

“We are proud of Heritage Bank for making us soar while promoting women empowerment. Over the years, Heritage Bank has proved to be an agent for the actualisation of achieving SDG 5 – Gender Equality, as well women empowerment,” she said.

The Executive Director of Heritage Bank, Osepiribo Ben-Willie affirmed the need to deliberately adopt measures to deepen women empowerment to drive the nation’s socio-economic growth.

In her closing remarks, Osepiribo Ben-Willie hinted that the Conference had leveraged Kilali Tribe to come up with blueprint in promoting women’s equal right to socio-economic empowerment, as this is at the heart of the SDG5-Gender Equality.

The Executive Director of Heritage Bank affirmed that women all over have proved to be huge economic asset in the act of creation of a new sustainable economy, hence gender inclusiveness and women’s empowerment must be taken as a priority.

According to her, after evaluating the bottlenecks restraining the Kilali Tribe and other women to attain the platforms to grow professionally and thrive in all spheres of t heeconomy, it is a call to action to “tackle the challenges of gender disparity and lack of inclusiveness that have continued to impede the expected rapid economic empowerment that could help unshackle our women’s entrepreneurial prowess and foster more representation for women and girls at decision-making forums and Board levels in comparison to their peers in the developed countries.”

Ben-Willie added that for women to emerge economically and socially as independent there was an urgent need to tackle psychological, social and skill constraints.

Collaborating Ben-Willie’s, the Co-founder and former Group Executive Director of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole, advocated for women and girl inclusiveness across all sectors of the society, including economic participation and decision-making.

According to him, the country should be conscious of gender equality, whilst emphasising that dealing with the psychological constraint will enable women to be balanced emotionally.

He stressed the need for organisation to leverage women positions on Board level, as they are resourceful and could enormously impact to the growth of any society.

Cole also charged women in being deliberate to position and champion course that would put them at the forefront of making difference. //END.//

Ozena Utulu, Ag. Group Head, Corporate Communications