Support to National Malaria Programme (SuNMaP), a United Kingdom aid Department for International Development (DFID) funded programme in Nigeria, has launched a nationwide campaign to scale up prevention and treatment of malaria, which kills 300,000 Nigerian children annually.
The coordinators of the project said its aimed is to address key constraints around awareness and demand for diagnostics and proper treatment of the disease.
Folake Olayinka, director of SuNMaP, said tackling malaria disease in the country has witnessed a multi-dimensional approach with strong emphasis on the provision of insecticide-treated mosquito nets to raising significant awareness of malaria among the populace, while improving access to diagnosis and treatment.
She said SuNMaP’s vision is to build private and public capacity for transition from supply driven market to demand driven market and harmonisation in health care services so that consumers seek for parasitological diagnosis and Artemisinin combination Therapies (ACTs) for effective malaria case management.
Olayinka emphasised the need for a strategic communication campaign to address key constraints around awareness and demand for diagnostics and proper treatment.
The initiative, which will be launched in 10 states across the country – including Lagos, Ogun, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Niger, Anambra, Enugu and Cross River – was motivated by market assessments conducted by SuNMaP.
The study showed that there were key constraints to supply and demand of affordable rapid diagnostic test (RDTs) Kits and treatment of confirmed cases of Malaria with Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT) drugs.
With the theme, ‘Don’t Play Doctor with Malaria’, the campaign, according to her, would enhance awareness among a greater number of people on the problems associated with the wrong application of malaria diagnosis and treatment.
“Though preventable, malaria in Nigeria is endemic and constitutes a major public health problem resulting in about 300,000 childhood deaths annually,” she said.
“It accounts for up to 25 per cent of the malarial disease burden in Africa, hence contributing significantly to the one million lives lost per year in the region, which consists mostly of children and pregnant women.”
Kolawole Maxwell, country director, malaria consortium, said the organisation would remain in the vanguard of initiatives to eliminate malaria in Nigeria through collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the development and application of strategies.
“Good healthcare translates to economic wellbeing and can only help to add more value to other developmental efforts,” he said, adding that efforts to fight the disease need to be accelerated if the United Nations’ millennium development goal of eradicating malaria deaths by 2015 is to be achieved.
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