The United Kingdom has contributed about £1 billion to the global fund against malaria and other diseases in Nigeria for the period of 2024 to 2026.

Health Adviser, British High Commission (BHC), Ebere Anyachukwu, who made the disclosure in Abuja, in commemoration of the World Malaria Day, said government of the UK contributed the money to a global fund that mobilised resources for countries to fight diseases.

According to him, the one billion pounds is added to the funds coming from other donors, to be managed by global fund to tackle malaria and other diseases in Nigeria.

He said it was from those funding that payment for things like insecticide, treated bed nets, diagnostics testing for malaria and also for chemo prevention were made.

“There are some states in Nigeria where malaria is seasonal. Those are states where chemo prevention is used to prevent children from coming down with malaria.

“In those states, malaria spreads in a few months within a year, and during that period, there is a high level of malaria transmission in children, resulting in lots of deaths,” he said.

The health adviser said children in such states were usually given malaria drugs, whether or not they have malaria.

“These are part of measures by global fund that have significantly reduced the level of sicknesses and deaths in children.”

He said the UK was a big contributor to the global fund, which is currently supporting about 13 states in Nigeria.

He listed the states to include Adamawa, Delta, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kwara, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Yobe and Taraba.

“With the global funding support, there has been a significant reduction of malaria related deaths in children in Nigeria.

“In 2008, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that Nigeria had about 221,000 malaria related deaths. But by 2022, the figure was about 189 deaths.

“There is a significant reduction due to the intervention of global fund, even when there was an increase in the nation’s population.

“Lots of lives have been saved over the years because people now have access to health care facilities funded by these interventions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed Nigeria has made significant progress in the fight against malaria in the recent years.

However, it said more collaborative efforts were required to strengthen the fight and achieve the desired improved result in the fight against malaria.

National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme, Godwin Ntadon, gave the charge in Abuja, yesterday, at an event to mark the 2024 World Malaria Day with the theme: “Accelerating the fight against malaria for a more equitable world.”

He disclosed plans are underway to review and launch new approach to the fight against malaria, adding that the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Ali Pate, partners and several other stakeholders involve in the fight against malaria, would be part of the review to ensure adequate result is achieved.

Country Representative, WHO, Walter Molumbo, who was represented by Alex Chimbaru, deputy country representative, in his remarks, said the theme of the event resonates deeply with the ongoing efforts to combat malaria.

“This year, let us collectively recommit to changing the narrative and ushering in a new era of progress and equity in our battle against malaria.

“Over the years, malaria has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable populations, namely, pregnant women, infants, children under five years of age, refugees, migrants, and internally displaced people, perpetuating cycles of poverty and inequity.

“Climate change and humanitarian emergencies, including natural disasters and conflicts in malaria-endemic countries, are displacing populations, making them vulnerable to the disease. This reduces opportunities for accessing preventive and treatment services by these groups thus hindering progress on achieving the vision of a malaria-free world.”

He insisted the fight against malaria is not just a health issue, but a matter of social justice and human rights.

“By accelerating our efforts to expand access to life-saving interventions, improve health systems, and address the underlying determinants of malaria transmission, we can create a more equitable world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. We also need to bring the communities in the planning and prevention of malaria.

“Let us change the narrative now and work together to overcome the challenges that stand in the way of malaria elimination. Through collective action, innovation, and unwavering commitment, we can achieve our shared goal of a malaria-free future for all.”

He suggested development of surveillance, monitoring and evaluation systems to generate reliable and sub-national data to target interventions and adapt services to the most at-risk groups, accelerating progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Representatives from UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, and several other partners made several pledges towards the fight against malaria in Nigeria.

Ebonyi State government has said malaria disease was still a public health problem in the state and that over 69 percent hospital attendance was caused by the disease.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Moses Ekuma stated this in Abakaliki, during press briefing to mark this year’s world malaria day.

He described malaria as major cause of mobility in pregnancy, women and children less than 5 years.

“According to World Health Organization, mosquito transmitted diseases kill over 1 million people in a year and causes 3 to 5 hundred million out of cases per year.

“In Nigeria, Ebonyi state in particular the disease is still a public health problem, over 69 percent of hospital attendance is caused by Malaria and the major cause of mobility in pregnancy, women and children of less than 5 years.

“World Malaria day is an annual event, the theme for this year is “accelerating the fight against Malaria for more equitable world”. The celebration offers an opportunity for Malaria endemic and Malaria free country to a town and length about the devastating consequences if the disease and for new donors to join the global partnership against Malaria.

“It is also a chance for a Malaria affected region to increase awareness on the Malaria diseases and hence win more political will and support from government towards the disease.

“Objective of the celebration is actually to increase awareness on Malaria diseases and to encourage the use of proven major to control Malaria.

“It’s also to catalyze government towards increase political will and support to roll back malaria interventions, and that the Ebonyi state government is doing perfectly well.”

“To also to increase the involvement and demand of malaria commodities an services and to awaken more partners to rise up to the fight against Malaria and hence increase investment in Malaria control efforts.

“The government if Ebonyi state under the leadership of Governor Francis Nwifuru done a lot in the area of healthcare provision for Ebonyians and control of Malaria in particular, training of new recruited doctors, nurses and pharmacist to build their capacities on Malaria peace management

“The state have also distributed insecticide treated net to pregnant women attending antenatal and immunization in the health facilities across the state .

“And there is also provision of free MRDT of suspected Malaria cases in the state, government have also provided free anti- malaria drugs to facilities .

“All these effort of government and many more have resulted to be more effective and efficient state Malaria program and gradual reduction of malaria from 56.5percent confirmed cases in 2023 tp 50.7 percent as at the end of first quarter of this year”, he stated.

April 26, 2024

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