Nigeria among five countries with 47 % global burden of malaria

By: Chioma Umeha

L-R: Commissioner of Health, Lagos State, Dr Jide Idris, Former Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan and Hon. Abike Dabiri, during the town hall meeting on maternal mortality reduction in Iberekodo, Ibeju, Lekki, Lagos, Thursday. PHOTO: CHIOMA UMEHA

Nigeria is among the five countries DRC, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya which account for 47 per cent of global burden (116 million) of malaria in the world.
In view of this Prof. Chukwu Onyebuchi Chukwu, Minister of Health, has called for accelerated efforts to ensure that the country exits the list of five African countries with the highest burden of malaria in the world.  Prof. Chukwu, made this observation during the breakfast meeting in commemoration of the World Malaria Day at the African Union conference of Health Ministers, at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and added that malaria is still an issue of public health importance.

Noting that there are various approaches which have been adopted to tackle malaria, the Minister said, that there is need to completely eliminate the diseases in the continent. His words: “In the African region, malaria is still of public health importance.Globally, it is estimated that there are about 247 million cases per year and Africa accounts for 86 per cent (212million) while five countries in the world. Nigeria, DRC, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya account for 47 per cent of global burden (116million), consequently, there is the need for us to work harder than ever to rid the continent of the disease. Various strategies are being implemented in the control. But we need to move on to elimination and ultimately eradication. For Africa to eliminate Malaria, our approach must be multipronged and integrated.”

To ensure successful elimination of the diseases in the West African sub-region, Prof. Chukwu said that the ECOWAS encouraged member countries to ensure vector control through Integrated Vector Management in addition to implementing large scale larviciding.  “A ground breaking ceremony for a Larvicidal Factory was done in Nigeria a couple of weeks ago in the presence of the President and Vice President of the ECOWAS commission and the Deputy Prime Minister of Venezuela.

The region is also focusing on vector resistance and drug surveillance. Africa must employ Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) with DDT. There is also a need for scale up of the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test kits (RDTs),” he said.  According to him, Nigeria has distributed 51,703,880 Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) and will continue to distribute nets. However nets alone cannot lead to the expected outcome.  But he insisted; “We must diversify into other strategies such as IRS, Larviciding and environment management.Awareness creation is being scaled up through the use of NIFAA(Nigeria Inter-Faith Association) as well as the investiture of Malaria Ambassadors.”  Prof. Onyebuchi also pointed out that the country has successfully implemented the first three phases of the Malaria Programme Review (MPR) and now at the fourth phase that involves the implementation of the recommendations of the MPR.  Already the preplanning process for the review of the National Malaria Strategic Plan, Malaria Control Policy and other relevant documents has commenced, the Minister said.

He further said that efforts are being channeled to sustain routine LLIN distribution, implement a nation-wide larviciding, IRS as well as establish 18 sentinel sites across the country for malaria vector surveillance. Also, there plans to scale up the use of RDTs as well as ensure the availability of ACTs and SPs for pregnant women; behavioural change communication and complete the Malaria Programme Review process.

This story was published in Daily Newswatch on May 4, 2013.


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