The National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) on Saturday called for more donor agencies and increased domestic financing to drive malaria elimination in the country.
Dr Audu Mohammed, National Coordinator, NMEP, made the call at the Integrated Health Parley organised by Breakthrough Action-Nigeria in collaboration with the Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) in Lagos.
Mohammed, who was represented by Mr Chukwu Okoronkwo, Head, Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation, said that the malaria burden in the country called for concern and required concerted efforts and funding to achieve malaria free Nigeria.
“Quite a lot of donor partners are supporting malaria elimination in the country but in spite of their fund support, we still have huge gap which is why malaria is still endemic in Nigeria.
“We are appealing to more donor agencies to come in and government at all levels should increase their funding for malaria elimination,’’ he said.
Mohammed said that the prevalence of malaria in Nigeria is 27 per cent and there are variations of endemicity across geopolitical zones going by the 2015 Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS).
Accord to him, another malaria survey is ongoing and the report will be out by 2019, to show the true situation of Nigeria’s malaria status.
“The World Malaria Report of 2017 indicates that Nigeria contributes 27 per cent of the 216 million malaria cases and 24 per cent of the 445,000 malaria deaths.
“About three out of 10 persons having malaria in the world live in Nigeria; one out of four deaths from malaria globally occur in Nigeria and over 54 million malaria cases recorded annually for the last three years.
“We also have prevalence across zones in the country according to 2015 National Malaria Indicator Survey (NMIS).
“North West – 37 per cent, North Central- 32 per cent, North East -26 per cent, South-South- 19 per cent, South West 17 per cent and South East 14 per cent, ” he said.
Mohammed said that increased funding for malaria elimination would provide equitable, comprehensive, cost effective, efficient and quality malaria control services.
He appealed to Nigerians to stop self-medication and go for Rapid Diagnostic Test for proper malarial testing.
On reports declaring Lagos malaria free, Mohammed said that such reports should be ignored as there were still malaria issues in the state.
“As at 2015, what we saw was that malaria prevalence in Lagos was about one person cent. But that does not mean that Lagos is no more endemic of malaria.
In her remarks, Dr Bolatito Aiyenigba, Deputy Director, Malaria and Tuberculosis Project, Breakthrough Action-Nigeria said that the project was focused on integrated social health behaviour of Nigerians.
Aiyenigba urged the media to write stories and feature articles to provide adequate information to all Nigerians such that at least 80 per cent of the populace habitually takes appropriate malaria preventive and treatment measures.