Nigeria needs to spend more to fight worsening malaria scourge – Agency

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Mosquito used to illustrate the story.www.riverside.il.us]

The National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) has called for increased domestic funding of the fight against malaria in Nigeria.

Speaking at the NMEP 4th quarter media chat 2018 in Abuja on Monday, the National Coordinator of the programme, Audu Mohammed, said government at all levels needs to give more resources for malaria control activities in the country.

He said the private sector can also be a major contributor to the efforts.

Represented by the Head of Advocacy Communication and Social Mobilisation (ACSM), Chukwu Okoronkwo, Mr Mohammed said about 97 per cent of the population, about 191 million Nigerians, still face risks of malaria.

“We need the government to give more resources for malaria control activities in the country. This is not limited to the federal government, local or state government alone. The private sectors can also be a major contributor to this fight” he said.

He noted that the private sector does not need to give NMEP money, but just to do something within their environment.

Mr Mohammed called for a major subsidy on malaria commodity, to ensure easy access to them.

“One critical area about domestic funding is the issue of subsidy of malaria commodity. Commodities in the private sector cannot be accessed because they are too expensive.

“These commodities are already subsidised at the government health facilities because donors are bringing them in at subsidised rates. That also has to happen for all health facilities, whether government or private,” he said.

Mr Mohammed said malaria remains an important public health issue in Nigeria as it accounts for 30 per cent of childhood mortality and 11 per cent of maternal mortality.

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The World Malaria Report 2017 and 2018 showed that global progress against malaria has stalled and the world is off-track to meet the milestone for 2020 as reflected in the global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030.

The report indicated that around 70 per cent of all deaths in 2017 was concentrated in 10 African countries and India.

According to the report, cases in the African countries, which include the 10 African countries, especially Nigeria and Burkina Faso, rose by 3.5 million in 2017, compared to the previous year.

The report revealed that while new cases fell steadily until 2016, the number rose from 217 million to 219 million in 2017.

Mr Mohammed said Nigeria needs to redouble efforts to make an appreciable impact in the malaria landscape.

He urged the general public to maintain environmental sanitation in and around the places they live and work.

The Head, Integrated Vector Management (IVM) branch of NMEP, Okoko Oyale, called for preventive measures, which include but are not limited to the use of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), Indoor Residual Spray (IRS) and larval source management, uptake of sulphadoxin pyremethamine (SP) by pregnant women for prevention of malaria, as well as environmental management.

He said environmental management seeks to reduce the number of all mosquitoes as well as targeted malaria vector species.

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