Addis Ababa – The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chuckwu, on Thursday in Addis Ababa said Nigeria and four other African countries accounted for 47 per cent of the global malaria cases.
The minister, who stated this at an AU Commission’s breakfast to celebrate the 2013 World Malaria Day in Addis
Ababa, said the countries are Nigeria, Congo DR, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya.
He said that 47 per cent of the cases amounted to 116 million of the global burden of the Malaria scourge and called
for more effort to rid the continent of the disease.
He said that recent statistics showed that there were about 247 million World cases per year and that Africa accounted
for 86 per cent or 212 million cases.
“Various strategies are being implemented in the control, but we need to move on to elimination and ultimately eradication, and for Africa to eliminate Malaria, our approach must be multi-pronged and integrated,’’ he said.
According to him, the ECOWAS region is encouraging member countries to ensure vector control through Integrated Vector Management in addition to implementing large scale larviciding.
“A ground breaking ceremony for a Larvicidal Factory was done in Nigeria a couple of weeks ago in the presence of
the President and Vice President of the ECOWAS commission and the Deputy Prime Minister of Venezuela.
“ The region is also focusing on vector resistance and drug surveillance, but Africa must employ Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) with medical additive (DDT) and also scale up the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test kits (RDTs).“
He said that Nigeria has commenced pre-planning process for the review of the National Malaria Strategic Plan,
Malaria Control Policy and other relevant documents to ensure the eradication of the scourge ahead of the 2015 MDGs target.
The Minister said Nigeria had distributed 51,703,880 Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) and will continue to distribute nets within the last two years.
“ However, nets alone cannot lead to the expected outcome. We must diversify into other strategies such as IRS, Larviciding and environment management.
“Awareness creation is being scaled up through the use of NIFAA (Nigeria Inter-Faith Association) as well as the investiture of Malaria Ambassadors,’’ he said.
He said Nigeria had successfully implemented the first three phases of the Malaria Programme Review (MPR).
“It is presently in the 4th phase that involves the implementation of the recommendations of the MPR.
“In 2013, we hope to sustain continuous/routine LLIN distribution, implement a nation-wide Larviciding, IRS as well as establish 18 sentinel sites across the country for malaria vector surveillance.
“We will also scale up the use of RDTs as well as ensure the availability of ACTs and SPs for pregnant women, in addition to scaling up behavioural change communication as well as complete the Malaria Programme Review process,’’Chuckwu said.
“let me add that the most cost-effective intervention in health are those that are preventive. Education and Environmental Sanitation will not only complement our malaria elimination efforts but will also contribute to the control and elimination of other dieases.
Earlier AU’s Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr Mustapha Sidiki said “ In spite of the success in the fight against Malaria, 85 per cent of the deaths occur in children under five years of age,
“The Malaria episodes in pregnant women cause anemia and other complications in the Mother and newborn child.’’
The Commissioner said the worldwide map of Malaria is shrinking, even in African Region, particularly in the E-8 countries.
“ Malaria has fallen on the average by more than 33 per cent and in some countries by about 50 per cent since 2000, with more people on combined artemisinin-based therapy and there has been significant Progress in community case management of malaria.
In spite of the success in the fight against malaria, Africa continues to account for 85 per cent of malaria cases and 90 per cent of malaria deaths worldwide.
“Malaria causes avoidable and often catastrophic out-of-pocket expenditure for households and loss of productivity to the economy resulting in massive losses to economic growth, with an estimated cost of 12 billion dollars each year in lost productivity in Africa alone.
“In addition, funding gaps for malaria threaten to reverse the gains already achieved in the past decade.
“Indeed, RBM Global Malaria Action Programme (GMAP) estimated a requirement of 26.9 billion dollars between 2012 and 2015, revealing a funding gap estimated at 9.7 billion dollars over the period or 2.4 billion dollars per year.
“This is why we need to invest in the future to defeat malaria. Hence the Big Push.’’
Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, the Executive Director of Roll Back Partnership, in her contribution said the effort to
eradicate Malaria had saved more than one million lives since 2000 in Africa.
Traore said nine African countries are among the 50 countries on track to meet the World Health Assembly and Roll
Back target of reducing malaria incidence by 75 per cent by 2015.
She, however, said it would cost Africa eight billion dollars to effectively intervene and reduce the menace of the scourge within the three years but lamented that there is about 50 per cent funding gap required to ensure that the effort was sustained to meet the 2015 MDGs target.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Health ministers from over 34 AU member states, WHO, UNFPA and other Health sector Development partners and experts attended the World malaria Day, with the theme “Invest in the future: Defeat malaria’’.
“This is to call attention to the big push needed to reach the 2015 Millennium Development Goals and defeat malaria in the future,’’ she said.(NAN)