South-West states, health experts chart pathway for achieving zero-malaria target

Government of some South-West states including Lagos, Oyo, Ekiti and Ogun have demonstrated how possible it is for Nigeria to achieve the zero-malaria target within the next 10 years.

The Oyo State Commissioner for Health,  Dr Basir Bello; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Ekiti State, Mr. Akinjide Akinleye; Director of Disease Control, Lagos State, Dr. Rotimi Agbolagorite and the Director of Public Health, Ogun State, Dr. Festus Soyinka, made the demonstration at a colloquium organised by St Racheal’s Pharmaceuticals Nigeria to commemorate this year’s World Malaria Day held in Lagos.

They did this via virtual platform while presenting some of the strategies being deployed by their respective states in combating the malaria scourge, which is regarded as the deadliest disease globally.

Similarly, some health experts and scholars at the event, including Prof. Wellington Oyibo of College of Medicine, University of Lagos (UNILAG) Akoka; the Chairman\CEO of St. Racheal’s Pharmaceutical Nigeria, Mr Akinjide Adeosun; the Director of Pharmaceutical Services, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Dr Adeyinka Ishola; Rivers State Deputy Governor and former director of public health services of the state, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo and the wife of Deputy Governor of Imo State,  Dr Bola Njoku and so forth, have also explained separately how this target could be achieved within the time frame.

While they all condemned the high incidences of malaria and related deaths in Nigeria which are considered to be the highest globally, they agreed on certain actions that need to be taken jointly by both the public and private sectors to achieve the target.

They listed increased awareness of citizenry on prevention, testing and treatment of the disease, increased funding and private sector participation in anti-malaria programmes and initiatives; well-utilisation of existing anti-malaria funds; broaden of access to micro-insurance scheme to cover particularly the poor and geographically disadvantaged persons; sustained allocation of at least one per cent of government budget at federal and state levels to fight the scourge; and the demonstration of political will as part of the ways out.

They listed others as contained in a communique issued at the end of the event, which also has the Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun in attendance, to include increased access to diagnostics and procurement of safe, high quality and affordable anti-malarial commodities; the development of national malaria database to address paucity of data to drive specific interventions, well management of the environment and so forth.

They said all these are doable and sustainable once they are back up with willingness and determination by both the successive governments and the private sector participants in both rural and urban communities.

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