Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Attacking malaria…tackling the common enemy

With malaria being responsible for up to 63% of attendance at health facilities, 30 percent and 25 percent of child and infant mortalities in Nigeria respectively and 11 percent of maternal mortality in Nigeria, the federal ministry of health is pulling all stops at ensuring that the different interventions under the country’s roll-back malaria initiative are properly implemented for maximum impact.

Recognising Malaria as a common enemy to humanity, especially to pregnant women and children, Dr Yemi Sofola, the Coordinator of the Nigeria Malaria Control Programme has called on all tiers of government, countries, partners and stakeholders to take affirmative action to address in a broad based manner the issue of malaria and to collectively make all efforts to eliminate malaria.

While speaking at the national review meeting for malaria programme managers at the picturesque Gateway Hotel in Ijebu-ode Nigeria recently, Sofola stated that the devastating effect of malaria has not only laid a heavy burden on the gaunt health system in Nigeria but has also diverted funding priorities creating huge gaps in our national development.

The Nigerian national malaria control programme is employing a workable and evidence-based framework for the elimination of malaria and this includes; improving prompt and appropriate management of malaria cases; promotion of multiple preventive measures such as the use of Insecticide Treated Nets; promotion of the use of Intermittent Preventive Treatment for pregnant women; development of workable partnership for Health System Development; improvement of monitoring and evaluation including tracking of project implementation and commodities and operational research to increase the evidence base for policy.

As she urged greater commitment of the programme personnel, Sofola commended the programme partners ‘who have stuck with us through thick and thin. We believe that our concerted efforts will definitely yield the successes we have been expecting since the Roll Back Malaria initiative.’

She shared with participants that the meeting was also to enable the programme to commence the process for the development of a new Business that would enable the programme to mobilize the required resources form within and outside Nigeria in order to massively scale up service delivery to have the desired impact.

Sofola opined that with the rising profile of malaria, the current bottlenecks being experienced at the state and local government levels will soon be overcome and the expected output and outcomes of interventions met to halve the burden of malaria by 2010 and a malaria-free Nigeria by 2015.

By Nnenna Ike

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