Nigeria’s high malaria burden worrisome – stakeholders

Malaria remains a disease of public concern and significant global impact, said the permanent secretary of the Kwara State Ministry of Health, Mr. Ishaq Tsoeda. This is despite all efforts by government and international development partners to eliminate the disease.

The Permanent Secretary said this when the President and CEO of the international NGO, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), Mrs. Marian Wentworth paid an advocacy visit to the governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to discuss the work the organization is carrying out in the state, in collaboration with donor partners like the Global Fund and USAID to address malaria, HIV and other diseases.

Mr. Tsoeda said, “Nigeria suffers the world’s greatest Malaria burden with approximately 51 million cases and 207,000 deaths reported annually, which represents about 30% of the total Malaria burden in Africa, while about 173 million of the total population is at risk of infection.”

He added that Kwara State is not exempted from this huge burden of Malaria, especially Oyun Local Government Area (LGA) and the LGAs in the northern part of the state. This, he said, necessitated the move by the state government to invest about 82 million naira for the Malaria Free Kwara project.

MSH president, Mrs. Wentworth said the organization and the donor partners it works with appreciate the effort of the state government in addressing malaria, HIV and other diseases in the state. She commended as a huge step the move by the state government to put some of its finances into malaria program, adding that more needs to be done to safeguard the health of people in the state, and Nigeria where disease burdens remain high. She also said that MSH is moving into malaria activity at the state level, adding that it is important to integrate malaria and ante-natal care for pregnant women.

The governor of the state, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Kayode Alabi, congratulated MSH for what he describes as 15 years of outstanding work in Nigeria. “We will ensure the people have the maximum benefit of the investment,” he said.

According to state government officials, from 2018 till date, MSH through the Global Fund grant has supported the Kwara State Ministry of Health to train over 2, 000 health workers, provided over one million doses of Artemisinin Combination Therapies for treatment of malaria, 345, 144 long-lasting insecticidal nets, and 675, 727 Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits, amounting to about two billion naira.

 Kwara state is one of the states in Nigeria that was supported by MSH through the PEPFAR and USAID funded Care and Treatment for Sustained Support project in the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS. The project which ended recently provided over one million Nigerians with HIV testing services.

Mrs. Wentworth who is on a seven-day working visit to Nigeria also visited the Emir of Illorin in his palace, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari to solicit his support for health programs in the state. She had earlier visited heads of federal government health agencies in Nigeria as part of her visit to the country.

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