How to achieve malaria-free Africa, by AU Commission

Malaria parasite. Photo: SENSISEEDS

[FILES] Malaria parasite. Photo: SENSISEEDS
• Nigeria gets 9m doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine, records 111,62 cases of infection, over 3,000 deaths in 2021
• Child rights group tasks govts, others on vaccine-preventable diseases

African Union (AU) Commission has said vision of a malaria-free continent can be realised by achieving and sustaining universal access to preventive measures, case management and accelerating development of surveillance systems.

The Commission called on AU member states to work towards meeting a new target of $18 billion to save more lives and attain a malaria-free Africa.‎

In a message to mark the 2022 World Malaria Day, yesterday, Global Health Communications and Advocacy Specialist at the Commission, Ms. Whitney Mwangi, observed that cross-border movement of mosquitoes and people presents a constant challenge for combatting malaria and urged member states to conduct equity analysis ‎to ‎‎assess and ensure malaria prevention and treatment funding is distributed ‎‎proportionately.
THIS came as the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) approved about nine million doses of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) for Nigeria.

The initiative aims to implement two campaigns in 14 local councils in nine states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and mitigate the risk of cholera during the rainy season.

Nigeria recorded 111,62 cases of cholera with 3,604 deaths across the 36 states of the federation and FCT in 2021.

Over 1.7 million persons were vaccinated each with two doses of OCV across seven local councils in four states of Bauchi, Jigawa, Yobe and Zamfara, with the support of different partners/donors through the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Molumbo, who disclosed this during a training on integration of OCV in emergency and preventive contexts, observed that Nigeria recorded its biggest cholera outbreak, which began in 2021, with over 100,000 suspected cases.

He said: “We believe that the vast experience built in Nigeria over the years in implementing mass vaccination campaigns will come to bear, as we prepare for these preventive campaigns. We are confident that the opportunity of this training for knowledge sharing from the three levels of the organisation and the multiple country participants will not only help improve on gaps identified but also ensure that countries are better prepared to request, plan and implement quality campaigns, with OCV as part of their national cholera control plans and further contribute the long-term goal of ending cholera by 2030.”

MEANWHILE, as the world commemorates World Immunisation Week, child rights group, Save the Children International in Nigeria, has urged governments and stakeholders to accelerate action toward reducing and ending death from vaccine-preventable diseases.
The group said available data has shown that global vaccination rates have dropped to levels not seen in a decade, with 3.5 million fewer children receiving vaccines in 2020 compared to 2019.

According to the group, the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the disruption of immunisation services, leaving millions of children at greater risk of missing out on critical vaccinations against diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, pneumonia and poliomyelitis.

Save the Children expressed belief that immunisation saves millions of lives and it is recognised as one of the world’s most successful health interventions.

Interim Country Director, Save the Children International in Nigeria, Shannon Ward, in a statement, yesterday, said every child should be vaccinated against preventable diseases.

These diseases, she said, “can negatively impact quality of life and cause death; hence Save the Children International welcomes increased emphasis and training for health workers and community members on the many benefits of immunisation.”

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