The Deputy Head of Mission, U.S. Embassy, David Young, on Monday said that his country was committed to ending the scourge of malaria in Nigeria.
Young, who stated this in Abuja at the commemoration of 2017 World Malaria Day organised by the U.S. Embassy, said prevention and control remained a major U.S. foreign assistance objective.
“The U.S. Government, through Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is committed to raising awareness about the proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this disease,” he said.
According to him, the U.S. Government supports local partners to design and implement programmes to improve public and private sector adherence to diagnosis and treatment guidelines.
He disclosed that the U.S. invested over 420 million dollars in the fight against malaria in Nigeria since 2010, and 75 million dollars in 2016 alone.
He said that the U.S PMI strategy goal was to work with PMI-supported countries and partners to further reduce malaria deaths and substantially decrease malaria morbidity towards the long-term goal of elimination.
PMI, Young said, delivered nearly 7.5 million Rapid Diagnostic Tests and 12 million Artemisinin based Combination Therapy (ACT) treatment doses in support to 3,000 health facilities across 11 states in Nigeria.
To end malaria for good, Young called on Nigerians to commit to sleeping in a treated bed net every night and remember that not every fever is malaria.
He stressed the need to demand a “test before treatment”, before beginning a full regimen of ACT.
According to him, ending malaria will prevent more than 80 million illnesses and more than 300,000 related deaths from malaria annually.
“Ending malaria will increase school attendance, boost workers’ productivity and significantly lower out-of-pocket cost for treatment.
“This is why malaria prevention and control remain a major U.S. foreign assistance objective.
“Each year in Nigeria, more than 80 million people fall ill and 300,000 die from malaria,” he said.
According to him, early and accurate diagnosis is essential for rapid and effective disease management and surveillance.
He said that Malaria diagnosis was vital as misdiagnosis allows disease progression from uncomplicated to severe forms, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality.
Young said that Nigeria had in 2015 adopted the T3 (test, treat and track) strategy for malaria case management.
He said that the strategy helped to improve overall management of patients with febrile illnesses and reduced the emergence and spread of drug resistance to anti-malarial medications.