United Kingdom Intervention on Malaria
Malaria is a major public health issue as the World Health Organization, WHO, report shows that in 2016, over two hundred million cases of malaria were reported in ninety-one countries with almost five hundred thousand deaths globally.
It further stated that malaria cases increased globally from two hundred and eleven million in 2015 to two hundred and sixteen million cases in 2016.
This had serious implications on the country’s capacity as a nation to manage the huge number of cases and its impact on the health service delivery system not to mention the loss to the economy.
Report shows that malaria is a risk for ninety-seven percent of Nigeria’s population of children under the age of five, as well as, pregnant women who are the most vulnerable.
Due to the danger posed by the rising cases of malaria in Africa and world over, developed countries had risen to stem the tide of the disease, one of such is the United States President’s Malaria Initiative, PMI.
PMI intervention in Nigeria include distribution of Insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets, ITNS, prompt testing of fever cases, appropriate treatment for malaria with first line drug and preventing malaria in pregnancy.
For instance, a report by Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey, NMIS, 2015 showed a decline by malaria in children under the age of five from forty-two percent to twenty-seven percent.
Recently, new Commonwealth Nations initiative was put in place to combat malaria.
According to WHO, these combined efforts by nations if achieved, would prevent three hundred and fifty million malaria cases and save six hundred and fifty lives predominantly children and pregnant women who are mostly at risk annually.
It is in the spirit of this combined effort that the Department for International Development, DFID, in the United Kingdom pledged to invest over twenty three billion to support the fight for malaria elimination in six states of the country.
Hence, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, and Yobe will benefit from the project which is slated to last from December 2018 to September 2024.
Chief Executive Officer of malaria consortium, Mr. Charles Nelson explained that if the burden of malaria in those states were reduced, there would be huge reduction in child mortality which was critical to individual and national development.
In the same vein, Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole noted that the current programme was designed to achieve reduction of malaria burden through more efficient and effective use of available resources.
While the effort is commendable, private sector collaboration with the government is also needed to reduce the scourge of malaria.
It is also imperative for government to allocate more funds for the control of malaria and scale up access to cover everyone.
Hence, making the nation free of malaria is a task that must be embraced by every Nigerian.