To achieve the zero malaria target in Nigeria, there is a need for the government to demonstrate strong political will which must reflect in their role in making more funds available for malaria programmes and developing strategies to control the disease.
While these funds are provided, our government must also ensure that there is proper accountability to see that the funds serve their purpose.
The Founder of the Restoration of the Dignity of Womanhood, ROTDOW, Mrs Olabisi Omolona made this submission in her message to mark the year 2021 World Malaria day in Akure the Ondo State capital.
Every 25 April as declared by World Health Organisation is the World Malaria Day, to highlight global efforts in the eradication of malaria, as well as celebrate the successes achieved so far.
The theme for this year is “Reaching Zero Malaria target”.
In her statement made available to JATS ONLINE NEWSPAPERS, Omolona called on Nigerian government to encourage research for the control of malaria by providing local funding for operational research with the aim of developing domestically-tailored approaches for the eradication of malaria.
She said: “The federal government should also construct underground drainage system across the country in line with international standard as this will reduce breeding spots for mosquitoes, hence reducing deaths due to malaria.
“Again, it must ensure that the WHO guideline on the management of children with fever especially those diagnosed to have malaria are followed strictly by our primary health centres and other health facilities”.
To reduce morbidity and mortality rate in pregnant women as well as eradicate complications that follow the disease in pregnancy, the ROTDOW Boss implored government to ensure that that every pregnant woman received at least three doses of Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP) commonly called Fansidar during her pregnancy.
She added the dose must start as early as possible in the second trimester with each dose given at least 1 month apart.
“Government should provide effective public outreach to educate people about the disease, it’s prevention and treatment.
‘It’s important I state here that if the federal government must achieve all of the above, it would require effective collaboration with non governmental organization, because these are the groups in touch with the communities, they are the grassroots mobilizers”.
According to her, malaria being a preventable disease can be eradicated in Nigeria with the right strategy and commensurate efforts from everyone, including NGOs, saying that past successes are pointers to this.
“If we must reach the zero malaria target as a nation, more focus should be on the populations that are most at risk of malaria disease and death.
“Studies have shown that pregnant women and children under-five are the population at higher risk of coming down with malaria, developing severe complications and dying from the disease. This is because more than 70% of all malaria deaths occur in these groups.
“Despite Nigeria losing about 450 million naira (1.1 US Dollars) to malaria intervention and treatments, many more children and pregnant women are infected and many being killed by this disease. This implies that more needs to be done”, she said.