FG Working Towards Zero-malaria Target – Minister

FG Working Towards Zero-malaria Target – Minister

In a bid to achieve the zero-malaria target in Nigeria, the federal government has emphasised the need to move from idealism to pragmatism.

The coordinating minister of health and social welfare, Prof Mohammed Ali Pate, stated this at the ministerial roundtable meeting on “Rethinking Malaria Elimination in Nigeria” held in Abuja.

The meeting was aimed at providing stakeholders the opportunity to assess the current malaria situation in Nigeria, evaluate the effectiveness of the existing tools in addressing the malaria scourge and to rethink the approach, the factors facilitating or mitigating the progress towards the elimination of malaria in Nigeria.

Pate said, “We need to move from idealism to pragmatism to be practical as to what is possible. Have high ambition but also have realism. We need to shift from business as usual.

“To shift from fragmentation to more coherent approaches in the context of the sector wide programme. From approaches that lean more towards one side to more multilevel certification. Shifting from focus on input and processes to focus on the outcomes that matter, which is reducing malaria burden, increasing survival and reducing mortality.

“From an inefficient state of approach to being a bit more efficient giving the limitation of resources. From focusing on accountability but shifting that accountability from duty bearers to the right bearers; to the people, to the citizens so that we deliver for the outcome that matters to them.”
He also called for the collaboration of community leaders across sectors, stating that the fight against malaria requires collective efforts.

“It also brings in the community leaders across sectors, the need to come together because it will take a movement of Nigerians, nobody will come from Geneva to solve the problem of malaria in Nigeria. It is Nigerian leaders in communities: traditional leaders, religious leaders and private sector leaders that will come together and join hands to solve malaria problems,” he said.

The minister regretted that as much as malaria is a preventable and treatable disease, yet it remains a leading cause of illness and death in the country.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other stakeholders have urged the Nigeria government to invest in data, and apply effective and sustainable approaches to malaria elimination in the country.

WHO regional director for Africa, Dr  Matshidiso Moeti, who spoke during the meeting, stressed the importance of having accurate and reliable data in the healthcare system, saying it is crucial to accelerating the fight against malaria in Nigeria.

She said, “For Nigeria to accelerate its effort, it needs to invest more in data from local communities across the country to know exactly what is going on there.

“We have technology today that can help us improve some of the ways we are dealing with data in the health sector. We can use data to identify the location that needs intervention.”
Moeti, however, commended the Nigerian government for its efforts, especially with the increase in health budget, describing it as an excellent and a very courageous decision.

She said, “What we need first and foremost in order to change the state in our countries is political commitment translated into action like we are seeing here in Nigeria with the increase in the budget.”

On drug production, the national coordinator, unlocking healthcare value-chain initiative, Dr Abdu Mukhtar, said the country needs to look inward in terms of drug promotion, adding that local production of anti-malaria drugs will improve access to effective treatment.

Also, the wife of the Ooni of Ife, Olori Temitope Ogunwusi, stressed the need for collective efforts in the fight against malaria.

She said, “We need a community tour where everyone needs to be engaged in this. Enough of the talk, we are ready to walk the talk.” The event brought together many local and international partners.

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