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Pharmacists, Rotary canvass private sector’s support for malaria eradication scheme


PHARMACISTS in Kwara State and the Rotary, at the celebration of 2015 World Malaria Day at the weekend, canvassed private sector’s collaboration with the government to eradicate the disease from Nigeria.

The local chapter of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), during its awareness campaign against malaria in Ilorin, the state capital, noted that the high level of poverty in African countries makes the citizens prone to incessant malaria attacks, just as many of them find it difficult to embrace various anti-malaria drugs designed for both therapeutic and preventive purposes.

The ACPN is one of the technical groups of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). All pharmacists practicing in the community belong to this body.
The ACPN Chairman in Kwara, Babatunde Samuel, said: “As a body, we advocate better funding of the health system in the state and country at large by appealing to government and well meaning individuals to channel more resources towards reduction of the malaria burden. But how free or affordable are anti-malaria drugs, Artemesin-based Combination Therapy (ACTS)?

“The efforts of people like Bill and Melinda Gates in this direction are highly appreciated and commendable. We need more of these well-meaning people to inject more funds into this system so as to highly subsidise anti- malaria drugs. A very high percentage of Nigerians live far below the poverty line.

“Not many can even pay N500 to buy the ACTS with the results that many turn to the less expensive drugs, and most often than not, less effective treatment options. The results of these decisions are sometimes fatal and suicidal.”

On the newly designed global malaria strategy for 2016 to 2030 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Samuel said the project set the target of reducing the tropical disease’s burden by 40 per cent by 2020, and at least 90 per cent by 2030. He added that the project is also aimed at eradicating the disease in at least 35 new countries.

On the children under eight years and pregnant women who are believed to be most vulnerable to the disease, the ACPN boss canvassed adequate care for them through special funding.

For him Nigeria as a developing nation must aspire to join the list of countries already declared malaria- free. “To do this, everybody, including pharmacists, have different roles to play. On our own part, today’s awareness is part of our contributions.”

Rotary, which called on all stakeholders to play their parts, disclosed it was working with partners to scale up efforts towards elimination of malaria from Nigeria. The group said it was also intensifying efforts to speed up results using its existing malaria intervention platforms -Rotarians Eliminating Malaria and Rotarian Malaria Partners.

A statement from the organization yesterday reads in part: “Rotarians Eliminating Malaria is a Rotarian Action Group whose ultimate goal is to eliminate malaria from the face of the earth.

“Rotarian Malaria Partners, on its part, serves as an anti-malaria project catalyst bringing financial, partner and organizational support to local Rotarians.

“Rotary joins the world as we celebrate the progress being made to combat malaria. As part of our commitment to fighting the disease, Rotary members are on the front lines of the effort to reduce sickness and death from the mosquito-spread illness.

“Malaria, a mosquito borne infection and communicable disease, has an unbelievably devastating impact on the health and economy of our nation and continent.”

The Governor-elect, Rotary, District 9125 Nigeria, Dr. Mike Omotosho, urged people to keep their environment clean; use long lasting insecticide nets every night; go for test before treatment; and treat with ACTs when malaria is diagnosed.

Omotosho noted: “According to WHO, malaria accounts for almost half a million death of children every year in Africa. It is on WHO records that global efforts to control and eliminate this deadly disease have saved an estimated 3.3 million lives since 2000, reducing malaria mortality rates by 42 per cent globally and 49 per cent in Africa.”

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