Malaria US re-launches malaria hotline in Nigeria

The hotline is expected to encourage citizens to participate in strengthening and protecting malaria programmes.

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Mosquito nets. play

Mosquito nets.

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has re-launched its “Make a Difference’’ Malaria hotline to make it easier for Nigerians to report stolen and falsified anti-malaria drugs.

The “Make a Difference campaign” re-launched in Abuja by Special Agent, Mr Jonathan Schofield, is expected to encourage citizens to participate in strengthening and protecting malaria programmes within their countries.

The initiative is born out of the need to curb the prevalence of counterfeit malaria medicines that undermine worldwide attempts to control the disease.

The campaign aims to solicit the involvement of local communities in the fight against people who prey upon malaria control programmes in Nigeria and elsewhere.

“The MAD campaign’s main objective is to obtain actionable information concerning the theft, transhipment, resale or falsification of anti-malaria drugs and commodities receiving funding from the USAID President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI),” he said.

Schofield said that the office of the Inspector General started the MAD campaign in December 2015 in Nigeria to remind Nigerians of the dangers of using stolen and falsified anti-malarial medications or goods.

“There is a MAD campaign hotline for citizens to call and report distributors, sellers or manufacturers of stolen and fake drugs to the Office of the Inspector General at the USAID.

“The 24-hour hotline will have English operators and the Office of the Inspector General says that the identity of people who call to report stolen or falsified drugs will be treated as confidential.’’

The Head, Malaria Control in Nigeria, Mr Godwin Ntadom, praised the re-launch of MAD, saying that it will help Nigeria as most of the malaria drugs in Nigeria are not of good quality.

Ntadom said government was doing its best to arrest the falsification trend.

He also cautioned against branding every malaria commodity in the market as stolen.

“The manufacturers of those commodities also have access to the open market; they sell to people and they also market it.

“We are trying to ensure that all nets produced by the government carry “not for sale’’ stamp; then, we will be able to differentiate.

“It is not all the nets in the market that are stolen nets please,” Ntadom appealed.

The Nigerian National Malaria Strategic Plan reports that malaria is the cause of 30 per cent of child mortality, 25 per cent of deaths in children under-one-year and 11 per cent of maternal deaths in the country.

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