By Chioma Obinna
The National Malaria Elimination Programme, NMEP, has called for more donor agencies and increased domestic financing to drive malaria elimination in the country even as North West leads in malaria burden.
The National Coordinator, NMEP, Dr Audu Mohammed, who made the call at the Integrated Health Parley organised by Breakthrough Action-Nigeria in collaboration with the Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN, in Lagos maintained that adequate funding was needed to achieve malaria free Nigeria.
Represented by the Head, Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation, Mr Chukwu Okoronkwo, declared that the burden of malaria remains a public health concern.
“Quite a lot of donor partners are supporting malaria elimination in the country but in spite of their fund support, we still have huge gap which is why malaria is still endemic in Nigeria. We are appealing to more donor agencies to come in and government at all levels should increase their funding for malaria elimination,” he said.
Mohammed said that the prevalence of malaria in Nigeria is 27 per cent and there are variations of endemicity across geopolitical zones going by the 2015 Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS).
“The World Malaria Report of 2017 indicates that Nigeria contributes 27 per cent of the 216 million malaria cases and 24 per cent of the 445,000 malaria deaths. About three out of 10 persons having malaria in the world live in Nigeria; one out of four deaths from malaria globally occur in Nigeria and over 54 million malaria cases recorded annually for the last three years. We also have prevalence across zones in the country according to 2015 National Malaria Indicator Survey.”
According to the 2015 National Malaria Indicator Survey ,the North West leads in high burden of malaria with 37 percent while the South East recorded lowest prevalence of 14 percent.
Other regions recorded; North Central- 32 per cent, North East -26 per cent, South-South- 19 per cent, South West 17 per cent and South East 14 per cent.
Mohammed said that increased funding for malaria elimination would provide equitable, comprehensive, cost effective, efficient and quality malaria control services.
Speaking on malaria treatment, he advised Nigerians to stop self-medication and go for Rapid Diagnostic Test for proper malarial testing.
He however, dismissed reports that Lagos was malaria free adding that there were still malaria issues in the state.
Also in his remarks, Deputy Director, Malaria and Tuberculosis Project, Breakthrough Action-Nigeria, Dr Bolatito Aiyenigba, said that the project was focused on integrated social health behaviour of Nigerians.
Aiyenigba urged the media to write stories and feature articles to provide adequate information to all Nigerians such that at least 80 per cent of the populace habitually takes appropriate malaria preventive and treatment measures.