Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Promoting Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) for malaria control in Nigeria

Nigeria's effort to combat the burden of malaria on its populace received a boost with a new initiative to produce Insecticide treated Nets locally. The country's Ministry of Health with active support from partners and other stakeholders had pooled together over 15 million Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) and distributed them to beneficiaries in all the 36 states of the federation, but there is shortfall of about 55 million, "which we are trying to address," says health Minister Professor Adenike Grange.

Intection Bestnet Europe Ltd. in collaboration with Rosies Textile Mills Ltd. are collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health in the fight against malaria in Nigeria and to produce the nets locally with the establishment of a factory that will produce LLINs at the rate of 100,000 per month in the first year. This capacity will be increased to 200,000 monthly in the second year with provision for annual increases. Similar ventures have been successfully implemented in India, and the Federal Ministry of Health supports the novel approach by Intection in its efforts to contribute to the Roll Back Malaria process in Nigeria.

Past efforts and commitments by the government and her partners in the scaling up of the distribution and use of ITNs in Nigeria had not yielded much as majority of the beneficiaries still have no access to the ITNs. This has posed a great challenge to the attainment of Roll Back Malaria (RBM) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets by 2010 and 2015 respectively.

All around the world, appropriate use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) has led to a sharp decrease in severe malaria attacks by up to 45% and a reduction in child mortality by over 17%. It has been estimated that a total of 74 million long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are required to achieve universal coverage and that 80% of people at risk should have access to ITNs by 2010.

A greater commitment from governments at all levels and partners is needed for the provision of additional ITNs to sustain the current momentum towards malaria elimination. This will help Nigeria to reach the goal of a Malaria-free Nigeria in line with the Global Malaria Programme strategy and the current strategy for scaling up ITNs distribution, which deems that all persons at risk of malaria should have access to ITNs.

The greatest challenge however is the inadequate capacity to locally provide the LLINs. Furthermore, there is no local technology for the production of LLINs in Nigeria. This calls for novel approaches to ensure an interrupted provision of the LLINs in Nigeria.

Dr. Yemi Sofola, National Coordinator of the Roll Back Malaria strategy (center right) and Prof. Adenike Grange, Nigerian Minister of Health, meet with officers of Intection Bestnet Europe Ltd. to discuss malaria prevention strategies in Nigeria.

By Amanda Hale

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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