May 7, 2024

We need practical solutions to defeat malaria — Dr Ali Pate

We need practical solutions to defeat malaria — Dr Ali Pate


By Chioma Obinna

Years into the campaign to eliminate malaria, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Ali Pate has said that it was time to move from idealism to pragmatism.

Pate who spoke during a ministerial roundtable meeting on “Rethinking Malaria Elimination in Nigeria” held in Abuja said the country should shift from business as usual.

He said:  “We need to move from idealism to pragmatism to be practical as to what is possible. Have high ambition but also have realism. We need to shift from business as usual. We need to shift from fragmentation to more coherent approaches in the context of the sector-wide programme. From approaches that lean more towards one side to more multilevel certification.”

The minister who explained that the meeting was aimed at providing stakeholders the opportunity to assess the current malaria situation in Nigeria added that it was also to evaluate the effectiveness of the existing tools in addressing the malaria scourge as well as rethink the approach, the factors facilitating or mitigating the progress towards the elimination of the disease in the country.

Continuing, he said: “Shifting from focus on input and processes to focus on the outcomes that matter, which is reducing malaria burden, increasing survival and reducing mortality.  From an inefficient state of approach to being a bit more efficient giving the limitation of resources, from focusing on accountability but shifting that accountability from duty bearers to the right bearers; to the people, to the citizens so that we deliver the outcome that matters to them.”

Pate further called for the collaboration of community leaders across sectors, stating that the fight against malaria requires collective efforts.

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“It also brings in the community leaders across sectors, the need to come together because it will take a movement of Nigerians, nobody will come from Geneva to solve the problem of malaria in Nigeria. It is Nigerian leaders in communities: traditional leaders, religious leaders, and private sector leaders that will come together and join hands to solve malaria problems,” he said.

Pate lamented that despite the fact that malaria is preventable and treatable; it remains a leading cause of illness and death in the country.

Speaking at the meeting, the Regional Director, of the World Health Organisation, WHO, Dr  Matshidiso Moeti among other stakeholders called for more investments in data, and the need to apply effective and sustainable approaches to malaria elimination in the country.

Moeti stressed the importance of having accurate and reliable data in the healthcare system as it was crucial to accelerate the fight against malaria.

“For Nigeria to accelerate its effort, it needs to invest more in data from local communities across the country to know exactly what is going on there.  We have technology today that can help us improve some of the ways we are dealing with data in the health sector. We can use data to identify the location that needs intervention.”

Commending the Nigerian government for its efforts, especially, with the increase in health budget, she said it was an excellent and courageous decision.

On his part, the National Coordinator, the unlocking healthcare value-chain initiative, Dr Abdu Mukhtar, called for local production of anti-malaria drugs, positing that it will improve access to effective treatment.

On her part, the wife of the Ooni of Ife, Olori Temitope Ogunwusi, stressed the need for collective efforts in the fight against malaria.