NMEP, SFH seek new funding model for malaria
• Scourge accounts for 11% of maternal, 30% under-five deaths
The National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) and the Society for Family Health (SFH) have called for a new funding model programme to reduce the scourge even as they sought the media and health authorities’ assistance to intensify awareness and education about the disease.
The group at a media parley in Lagos also called for enhanced information and better use of malaria commodities to reduce the incidence and harmful effects of the disease.
The group said: “In socio-economics, malaria is also one of the leading causes of absenteeism in schools, offices and markets, and affects the national economy. The health costs are also high. Malaria accounts for about six out of 10 out-patient visits and three of 10 admissions in healthcare facilities.
“Malaria accounts for 11 per cent of maternal mortality and three of 10 deaths in children less than five years.”
Also, the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria has raised an alert concerning the threat malaria poses to the country, citing a loss of $3bn annually.
National coordinator of NMEP, Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed, and Managing Director of SFH, Mr. Bright Ekweremadu, appealed to the media to increase the visibility of malaria and showcase available interventions in the country. They also said that while the statistics are sobering, Nigeria has made significant progress over the last five years in the fight against malaria.
The group called for interventions of preventing malaria transmission through integrated vector management strategy, prompt diagnosis and adequate treatment of clinical cases at all levels and in all sectors of health care, as well as prevention and treatment of malaria in pregnancy.
They also promoted the use of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs), use of Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) to clearly identify malaria and distinguish it from other frequent fevers, and encouraging citizens to use personal protection measures.
They said protective measures against malaria include distribution and promotion of the use of insecticides, repellent coils, creams as well as products with insect-killing or repellent properties like wristbands, air-conditioners, special light, special rackets, creams and gels.
Nollywood personality, Kate Henshaw who signed on to the malaria advocacy programme decried the attitude of Nigerians who look down on the sickness and consider it condescending familiarity despite the harm it causes.
Henshaw stated: “I have committed myself to support the fight against malaria in Nigeria by letting people know the benefits of sleeping inside the LLINs, particularly for children under five and pregnant women. It is also very important to have a Rapid Diagnostic Test done, or microscopy done to be sure it is malaria before administering treatment with Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT).”
Guest lecturer, Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health and Director, Centre for Malaria Care, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Kwara State, Olugbenga A. Mokuolu, in his presentation titled “Malaria Elimination in Nigeria: Where We Are & Where Want To Be” said increased malaria prevention and control measures are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places.
Mokuolu said deaths due to malaria have fallen by half globally since 2000 and that between 2000-13 about 4.3 million deaths averted.
Mokuolu said: “There is no doubt that malaria is a moving target. While evidence support tremendous progress in the global efforts and the efforts in Nigeria, this it the time to redouble our efforts.”
He said a critical partner in malaria fight is the media and that achieving the goals of attaining pre-elimination by 2020 will hinge heavily on the media. “Media was central to the victory on Ebola. Media was central to the knowledge density on Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Media will be the backbone on which the final success of malaria fight will depend,” Mokuolu said.