As part of its activities to mark the World Malaria Day, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) has called on Nigerians to play their parts in the fight towards a ‘Malaria Free Nigeria ‘.
The call was made by the NMEP National Coordinator, Dr Bala Audu on Monday in Abuja at a press conference organised by NMEP in collaboration with Centre for Disease Control (CDC/USAID) and health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3).
Audu urged the media to promote sensitisation on the need for Personal Protection Measures (PPM), the use of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs), Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) and Antenatal Care by citizens in the collective war against malaria in Nigeria.
He said that this these measures are proven to be more effective against the backdrop of the many years of use of a single drug (montheraphy) for treatment of malaria around the world that has led to resistance of the malaria parasite to the drugs.
Adding that, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has to this effect, recommended a change to the use of a combination of more active ingredients which is a combination of Artemisinin and one or more active drugs known as : Artemisinin based Combination therapy (ACT).
Audu attested to the fact that have been recommended by the WHO “the best medicine for malaria all over the world and has been adopted by Nigeria in its first against malaria prevalence.
He noted that the National Malaria Indicator Survey (NMIS) in 2015, accredited 15% reduction in malaria prevalence among children less than five years in the last five years, to the use of ACTs among other intervention method. Saying, ” the percentage of prevalence decreased from 42% in 2010 to 27% in 2015.
Speaking also to back this fact, the Chief of Party, Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3), Anna McCartney-Melstad, commended Nigeria’s effort in bringing down malaria prevalence.
Melstad also thanked the media for sensitising the public on malaria, saying, “You have done incredibly well “. “We really need to play a major part in eliminating malaria “.
Consequently, others who spoke, stressed on the need for people to use all the available intervention method to prevent and manage cases
of malaria in the country.
However, when asked by press men on the efforts put in place by NMEP and stakeholders, in realising a ‘ malaria free Nigeria ‘ Audu revealed that they reach out to the Governors Forum occasionally and National Assembly to support the programme.
Also, that NMEP involve the media in the promotion of its programmes to ensure that the public is educated and sensitised through the various media available in the country.