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Optimising vector control interventions towards malaria elimination in Nigeria

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Stakeholders have intensified efforts in optimising vector control interventions towards malaria elimination in Nigeria.

This formed part of an online panel discussion, hosted by The Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA), and its partners including the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) and global health company Vestergaard.

The conversation included high-level representation from governments, private sector stakeholders including Vestergaard, academia, and civil society. During the discussion, emphasis was placed on the need for Public–Private Partnerships (PPPs) to maximise impact on malaria vector control interventions in Nigeria, as well as to address gaps and highlight tools and innovations in vector control surveillance across Africa.

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Head of Global Growth, Vestergaard and panelist, Patrick Sieyes said: “The cornerstone of malaria prevention are essentially vector control in the form of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS).

“Given the resource limitations, investment in the most cost-effective and basic tools, such as high quality piperonyl butoxide (PBO) nets and vector control tools must be prioritized to maximize impact.”

A new class of bed net that includes the chemical PBO has been shown to significantly reduce malaria infection in children.

Research shows that LLINs, in particular, are responsible for averting 68 per cent of malaria cases, and that the increased access to quality LLINs is a major factor behind the 60 per cent reduction in malaria deaths since 2000, – saving approximately 6.2 million lives since 2001.

Following the recent update on the World Health Organisation (WHO) classification of insecticide-treated net products based on their efficacy claims there is an opportunity for strong regulatory frameworks such as Nigeria’s, to assist the programme in understanding a product’s claims. This is an opportunity for data to guide deployment of products where they can have the most impact.

Sieyes said: “Not all countries have a strong regulatory approval system for vector control tools. Nigeria should be commended for establishing a systematic product registration and traceability implementation strategy, in line with the National Strategy published by the Federal Ministry of Health in May 2020.

“There is an opportunity for Nigeria to leverage its institutions and systems to lead the way in the creation of an end-to-end quality monitoring framework for bed nets.”

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MEANWHILE, the panelists said Nigeria is well positioned to help close the data gap on new vector control tools recently introduced in the fight against malaria. For instance, in the case of PBO nets, manufacturers across the globe have taken different approaches to incorporating PBO synergists into net materials, resulting in a variability of PBO concentration in nets. There is also a concern that these nets may not sustain increased efficacy over the three-year lifetime of the product. Therefore, Vestergaard insists it is vital to evaluate the performance of the vector control tools over time, with an adequate regulatory framework in place, such as a systematic post-market surveillance programme.

Head, Sustainability, Access Bank, and Co-Chair, CAMA, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, said: “The roundtable aimed to have a structured discussion with relevant stakeholders to foster Public– Private Partnerships on malaria vector control interventions in Nigeria. We have found that strategic partnerships can be highly effective in making an impactful change and aiding in the elimination of Malaria in Nigeria.”

“Vestergaard’s pledge to quality is a commitment to save more lives and we are invested in exploring the opportunity to create a link between post-marketing surveillance activities and the regulatory approval process. This link would provide regulatory authorities with information about product performance in real conditions of use and thus contribute to the communities in which these products are deployed,” Sieyes said.

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