Towards the elimination of malaria by 2020, the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Dangote Foundation, on Tuesday, in Lagos, launched the Private Sector Engagement Strategy against Malaria (PSESM).
The launch, which has been described as a strategic follow-up of , ‘Malaria to zero’, provides the framework through which the organised private sector may join the movement to save lives of Nigerians lost to malaria and spare the nation of an estimated annual economic loss of $2.4 billion.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, appealed to private sector operators to collaborate with the government in its efforts at stamping out malaria in Nigeria.
He stressed the need for local production of malaria drugs and mosquito nets, adding that over 30 million insecticide-treated nets distributed in Nigeria are imported yearly as well as about 80 per cent of the anti-malaria drugs used in the country.
“We have engaged series of advocacy, which has yielded results but advocacy is not enough, many people would have been beaten before coming under the insecticide treated nets. We need research and collaboration. We have realised we can’t do it alone, that is why we are engaging the private sector.
“We need their discipline and efficiency and in the local production of the medicine because that can generate employment in the country”.
Professor Adewole disclosed the substantial successes recorded in the past decade in the control of Malaria in Nigeria through significant investment from government and development partners, adding that the supply and distribution of anti-malaria drugs had already been increased nationwide.
According to Professor Adewole, over 100 million long-lasting insecticide treated nets were distributed within the last seven years to protect over 28 million out of the 33 million households in Nigeria.
In his remark, the chairman of the Foundation, Aliko Dangote, lamented the effect of malaria scourge to on the nation and its economy.
“In addition to direct costs to business and the economy, malaria indirectly damages the economy through the deterioration of human capital, loss in saving, investments and tax revenues. This is clearly too high of a cost to society and to the economy.”
Dangote stated that Nigeria’s transition from malaria control to elimination, provides a compelling opportunity for Nigeria to reflect on its aspirations, take stock on progress and inspire bold, innovative approaches and complementary public private partnership to disrupt poor malaria outcomes, adding that private sector can play an important role in mobilising domestic resources, capabilities, innovation and advocacy platforms to catalyze progress in achieving Nigeria’s malaria pre-elimination agenda.
Dangote, who is Nigeria’s malaria ambassador, promised to assist in the war against malaria.