Nigeria pledges its commitment in eradicating malaria
Adoba Echono - Kigali
Nigerian government says it is committed to eliminating malaria as it eliminated guinea worm in the country.
President Mohammadu Buhari made the commitment in his presentation in Kigali in Rwanda at .a summit on Malaria and other Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTD’s, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, CHOGM.
The Nigerian Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who made the presentation on behalf of the Nigerian said the menace of malaria can be curbed in Commonwealth countries through multilateral collaboration amongst Commonwealth and adequate funding the health care sector.
President Buhari announced that about 23 million Nigerian children have received the seasonal malaria chemoprevention, aiding reduction in severe malaria in children in the country.
“I am pleased to say my country has recorded gains in reducing the burden of malaria and NTDs and averting millions of malaria infections and deaths as can be seen in the 2021 World Malaria Report.
“In spite of COVID-19 induced restrictions, Nigeria distributed more than 17million long-lasting Insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) for vector control.
“The LLIN prevents not only malaria but also NTDs transmitted by mosquito vectors.
“To protect against malaria in our seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Strategy, we scaled up from nine states to 21 beneficiary states in 2021, to reach 23 million children,’’ he said.
The Nigerian leader told the summit that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria delivered on commitments made at the London CHOGM malaria summit in 2018.
He tasked Commonwealth leaders to renew commitment toward eliminating the disease while assuring best efforts by his government to mobilise domestic resources in the fight against NTDs and malaria.
He announced that Nigeria had secured 300 million dollars from the World Bank and from the Islamic Development Bank to cover essential malaria programmes and strengthen Primary Healthcare.
The president added that fatalities caused by malaria in parts of Africa mostly affect children and pregnant women, and urged low-income countries to join forces together to end the challenge.
“Estimates of persons in the WHO-Africa region contracting malaria is still in hundreds of millions while fatalities are still in hundreds of thousands, the greatest toll being on pregnant women and under-five children.
“With regard to NTDs, Africa bears more than half of the global burden estimated at more than one billion in 149 countries.
“It is, therefore, important for low-income countries, most impacted, to join forces to end this double-disease burden.
“We can achieve this by urgently scaling up innovation and deployment of new tools, while advocating for equitable access to prevention and treatment,’’ he said.
Some of the most influential voices in global health, world leaders, leading WHO figures, philanthropists, scientific experts, global influencers and community champions made presentation at the summit.
The Summit culminated with a Call to Action, focusing on the specific actions needed to end malaria and NTDs once and for all.
The summit, hosted by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, featured commitments totalling more than four billion dollars including funding from governments, international organisations, philanthropists, and private sector support.