US celebrates strides in fight against malaria, commits to partnership with Nigeria

The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), on Thursday, celebrated five years of the VectorLink project’s achievements in the fight against malaria in Nigeria.

Blueprint reporrs that the five-year, $7.8 million President’s Malaria Initiative VectorLink project, implemented in close partnership with the government of Nigeria, provided technical expertise for surveillance of organisms that host malaria-causing parasites and insecticide resistance monitoring across Nigeria.

The U.S. Embassy would like to invite interested media to attend the closeout of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) five-year VectorLink project. 

The USAID PMI-VectorLink project supported routine vector surveillance in six states and insecticide resistance monitoring in 16 states, including five non-PMI focus states:FCT, Enugu, Bayelsa, Kaduna, and Rivers, to support vector control decisions.

According to the 2022 World Malaria Report, worldwide, Nigeria accounts for 27 per cent of malaria cases and 31 per cent of malaria death, just as  the country has been identified as one of 11 high-burden to high-impact countries.

The U.S. government is committed to collaborating with the Nigerian government at all levels to achieve success in the implementation and control of malaria.

A press statement by the US Mission to Nigeria disclosed that, “In 2021, malaria killed an estimated 619,000 people around the world, an increase of 12 per cent over the prior year, with many of the additional deaths due to service disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions more fell sick from the disease, with young children and pregnant women among the most vulnerable.

“Nigeria contributes almost a quarter (23 per cent) of the world’s malaria cases and has a 31 per cent mortality rate. There is widespread insecticide resistance by the major malaria vectors across the country. This threatens the effectiveness of the available control tools, including nets.”

The Mission further disclosed that, “Since 2006, the United States President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has protected millions of people in Africa from malaria through the deployment of insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying. “These interventions kill the mosquitoes that transmit malaria by spraying insecticide on the walls, ceilings, and other indoor mosquito resting places. In September 2017, the United States continued its commitment to tackling this deadly disease, launching the five-year PMI VectorLink Project in Nigeria.”

It further noted that, “The PMI VectorLink Project equipped Nigeria to plan and implement safe, cost-effective, and sustainable indoor residual spraying and other life-saving malaria vector control interventions with the overall goal of reducing the malaria burden.

“From January 2022 to now, the project has provided quality control for the distribution of more than 21 million insecticide-treated nets in Nasarawa, Rivers, Kebbi, Sokoto, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Bauchi, and Cross River. Those distributed bed nets protect over 42 million Nigerians from malaria.”

Speaking at the closeout of VectorLink’ and launch of ‘PMI-Evolve’, in Thursday in Abuja, the PMI Resident Advisor, Jules Mihigo, said, “USAID reaffirms our commitment through PMI to support the holistic approach of the national malaria control program to eliminate malaria in Nigeria, notably through vector control.

“We would like to thank the National Malaria Elimination Programme for the unwavering leadership and our partners at VectorLink for the quality and diligence of your work over the past five years.”

As the VectorLink project draws to a close, USAID-PMI would continue to engage and support the National Malaria Elimination Programme under the new PMI-Evolve project, which would begin on August 1.

“PMI-Evolve will build the capacity of community members to understand, accept, and sustain the use of vector control interventions to reduce mosquito bites and the malaria burden,” the Mission added.

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