Nigeria prepared for World Malaria Day 2019 by Gloria Essien.
The Nigerian government is set to generate the push towards reduction of malaria burden in the country.
The chairman of the 2019 Planning Committe of the World Malaria Day, Dr. Uzodinma Adirieje, while briefing newsmen in Abuja, said this year’s celebration of the day is aimed at reducing the morbidity and mortality arising from malaria.
He noted that World Malaria Day 2019 would also focus on ensuring an increase in the uptake of malaria interventions in the country.
“In Nigeria, the WMD has been commemorated annually since 2009, with the celebration normally done at the Federal and State levels. Through the event, awareness is created and attention drawn to the huge burden of malaria in Nigeria. The commemoration of this year’s WMD is especially significant in order to generate the push towards reduction in morbidity and mortality since seemingly we are falling short of the expected targets as contained in the national strategic plan”, Dr Adirieje said.
He also said that Nigeria has been putting in resources to end the burden of malaria but it is not looking like it due to Nigerian population.
“Our population keeps increasing in a way that challenges every intervention; it is important that is said. Nigeria in the whole world accounts for the largest gap and yet the largest coverage in seasonal malaria prevention. It means we are doing so much but because we are also reproducing so much, what we are doing so much is not enough to address squarely the reproduction; we are doing so much so we continue to strive”, he added.
He explained that in 2019, the states will be embracing the event.
“We have ensured that what we are doing here, that we are also encouraging the 36 states and the FCT to embark on similar actions. So, at the state level now they have World malaria Day committees. In the next two to three years, we should be able to have it across the country. Through the event, awareness is created and attention drawn to the huge burden of malaria in Nigeria”, he added.
Dr. Adirieje also stressed that 1 in 4 persons down with malaria globally is a Nigerian.
“We need to remind ourselves that Nigeria is sitting at the top of the high burden countries for malaria. This means that we must do things differently if we expect to get needed results”.
Also speaking, the Director and Head of Surveillance, monitoring and Evaluation Branch of the National Malaria Elimination Programme, in Nigeria, Dr. Perpetua Uhomoibhi, said progress has been made to bring down the burden of malaria in Nigeria and the rest of the world but the efforts are always failing as the malaria burden fluctuates.
“Worldwide progress has steadily been achieved in bringing down the burden up to 2015 and started going up again. That’s why there is this global call for countries to re-strategize and see what is happening, why have we stalled in making progress to bring down the burden of malaria and particularly to have zero malaria deaths, why have progress stalled? So there is a new call from WHO and globally; global malaria partnership that counties have to re-strategize to do more”, She said
World Malaria Day is celebrated on the 25th of April annually.