Malaria 2030: NMEP tasks Nigerians on behavioural change

As Nigeria targets malaria elimination by 2030, the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) has harped on the importance of behavioural change to reduce the burden of malaria and achieve the set target.

The national coordinator of NMEP, Godwin Ntadom, made the call Wednesday during an interview with journalists in Abuja at the Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria Learning and Transition event.

The event themed: “Celebrating Successes, Consolidating Learning, and Transitioning for Sustainability”, highlights the achievements of Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria, USAID’s global flagship social and behavioural change project in the past seven years in health areas ranging from malaria prevention to maternal and childbirth, among others.

Ntadom said Human behaviour” contributes to the challenges in the fight against malaria in Nigeria.

“We distribute nets, but people are not using them. Some even get sick and they don’t get treated. So we need to change attitudes and human behavior.

“When you get the symptoms of malaria, you should get yourself tested or treated, definitely another mosquito will not pick the parasite from you to further spread it,” he stated.

Ntadom said as far back as 1897 when Ronald Ross discovered the malaria parasite, countries took proactive measures and Belgium was able to eliminate malaria through social and behavioural change (SBC).

“By 1900, it was clear that mosquitoes were transmitting malaria to man. With this knowledge alone, some countries took proactive action.

“Then there was no chloroquine, quinine or DDT, just behavioural change led to the elimination of malaria in Belgium in 1912, and the United Kingdom followed suit, and they were able to eliminate malaria in 1922.

“Going forward, you cannot underplay the role of behavioural change, because if we adopt it, we know where the mosquitoes are breeding, we know how malaria is transmitted, so we don’t need any additional thing to keep us away.”

He added that at NMEP, “we can never underplay the role of social behavioural change in the effort to eliminate malaria in the country.” (Premium Times)