The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has called for increased collaboration among stakeholders on malaria control, care and prevention in the country.
He made the call at the commemoration of the 2016 World Malaria Day on Monday in Abuja with the theme “End Malaria for Good.”
Represented by the Director, Family Health, Dr Wapada Balami, FMOH, Adewole said that the slogan was “Yes! It is Achievable.”
The minister said malaria remained the greatest public health enemy in Nigeria and many Nigerians die yearly from it.
He added that the disease had remained a great danger to pregnant women and children under the age of five years, noting that “many households lose income because they are too ill from malaria to go to work.
“Many children are out of school on account of malaria and a good number fail to attain their optimal potential in life as a result of the ailment.
“This is unconscionable given that malaria is preventable, treatable and curable, as renowned scientists and the World Health Organisation have developed several tools to prevent and treat the disease.
“Also, partners have made substantial investments in the quest for useful vaccine, as Roll Back Malaria (RMB) partners made tremendous resources available to assist Nigeria in her malaria control efforts.”
The minister said that WHO chose the theme “End Malaria for Good” to provide impetus for faster acceleration toward elimination because a lot of progress had been recorded globally, including Nigeria.
He said that the number of malaria cases fell from 262 million in 2010 to 214million in 2015 globally, noting that malaria death fell from 839,000 to 438,000 in the same period.
He pointed out that in spite of the good news both locally and globally, a great deal of work still remained undone.
Adewole said that “the target of the current National Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP) 2014 to 2020 is to bring the prevalence of malaria to pre-elimination level of less than five per cent and reduce malaria-related death to zero by 2020.
“To achieve this, all hands must be on deck. It is not a task for the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) alone.
He stated the highlights of the NMSP as use of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs), indoor residual spraying, larviciding and environmental management, prevention of malaria in pregnancy using Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPTp) with Sulphodoxine –Pyremethamine.
Also in the NMSP were prevention of malaria in children less than five years living in the Sahelian region of the North through Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC), mandatory diagnosis of every suspected malaria case using Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits or microscopy.
The treatment of every confirmed case using Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACTs), timely referral of complicated malaria for appropriate management were also part of the NMSP, he said.
The minister then urged Nigerians to key into the strategies to fast track the quest for a malaria-free nation.
Dr Amina Shamaki, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, urged stakeholders to assist in ensuring that the general populace were sensitised on effective case management of malaria.
Shamaki said the only way was by ensuring test before treatment using the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT), noting, however, that
“it is encouraging to note that although malaria remains a significant public health problem in Nigeria, the burden has reduced significantly.
“This positive trend is attributed to various interventions put in place by government and effective collaboration with our donors and partners.
“In the attempt to achieve pre-elimination, this administration is committed to sustain the partnership and channel more resources toward reforms and restructuring of the health sector for effective service delivery.”
The permanent secretary said that the Federal Ministry of Health had taken measures to train Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMV) in the use of RDTs to promote the policy of mandatory testing before treatment.