By Chioma Obinna
Collaborating partners in the Global Fund for Malaria programme, the National Malaria Elimination Programme and the Society for Family Health, have raised an alert concerning the threat malaria poses to the country, citing a loss of US$3bn annually.
According to them, the amount is from expenditure on prevention and treatment by citizens as well as statistics on other areas of loss due to the disease.
They called for enhanced information and better use of malaria commodities to reduce the incidence and harmful effects of the disease. In particular, the collaborating partners in the Global Fund for Malaria New Funding Model programme to reduce the scourge want the media and health authorities to intensify awareness and education about the disease. They say Nigerians take the disease for granted to the peril of citizens.
The National Coordinator of the National Malaria Elimination Programme, NMEP, Dr Audu Bala Mohammed, and Managing Director of the Society for Family Health, Mr Bright Ekweremadu jointly appealed to the media to increase the visibility of malaria and showcase available malaria interventions in the country.
The implementing partners say that while the statistics are sobering, Nigeria has made significant progress over the last five years in the fight against malaria.
The interventions include prevention of 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 are promoting the use of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets, use of Rapid Diagnostic Tests to clearly identify malaria and distinguish it from other frequent fevers, and encouraging citizens to use personal protection measures. These actions 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, and gels.
They also seek the support of players in the media and entertainment eco-systems.
Nollywood personality Kate Henshaw signed on to the malaria advocacy programme. Similarly, the cast of Papa Ajasco and Co including Nnenna and Friends also signed up for the advocacy programme.