Access Bank, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria and Hacey health Initiative have come together to make a call towards accelerated scale-up of efforts to prevent malaria and save lives under the Malaria To Zero Initiative program for grass root people living in suburb and underprivileged environments across Nigeria and Africa at large.
This call was made during a community sensitization session organized under the Malaria To Zero initiative for Mushin residents with no fewer than 1000 Long-lasting insecticide Treated Nets [LLINs] distributed.
It is apt to note that every year, about 100 million cases of Malaria are recorded worldwide with Sub-Saharan Africa bearing the burden for about 88% of total incidences and 90% of mortality resulting from Malaria. Of this figure, pregnant women and children suffer the most from Malaria with about 429 000 malaria lives lost in 2015 alone.
The resulting health costs from lost productivity, prevention and treatment means that the Nigerian economy loses about $1.13 billion each year, depriving families, businesses and the Nigerian government capital that can be used to address developmental challenges. Despite huge investments in ending Malaria, national indices still fall short because of challenges in funding, poor data for decision making, fragmented governance and service delivery in hard-to-reach communities.
“Owing to the mortality rate attributed to malaria, the grassroot remains the under-served communities that needs to be reached due to the high burden of malaria cases recorded in communities, due to their inability to afford long lasting insecticide treated nets to help the prevention of malaria,” Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan , Head of Sustainability of Access Bank Plc said.
Also according to Dr. Muntaqa Umar Sadiq, CEO, Private sector health alliance of Nigeria, the lead technical partner of the initiative noted that there is the need to establish an Innovative financing platform to compliment efforts from the Government and target the root causes of under performances in the fight against malaria.
“Despite significant investment in the health system, we are yet to see commensurate results in terms of outcomes. Current programmes are inadequate and we need to do things differently, we need to be more innovative and rethink our intervention. We have had issues with data and complex governance arrangements”, Dr Muntaqi stated.
“Some other African countries such as Morocco, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan have been able to achieve zero malaria deaths. Why can’t Nigeria be put towards that part of zero malaria”, he expressed concern.
The Oba of Odi Olowo, Mushin, Fatai Irawo who led other traditional and community leaders to the event thanked the sponsors for enlightening his people and advised them to use the nets in their homes to ensure that malaria becomes a thing of the past for members of the community.
The traditional head also added that in over 10years, he is yet to see a more successful health promotion program in Mushin as Malaria To Zero.
As the implementer of the project, Hacey Health Initiative Project Director, Owolabi Isaiah added that it is of paramount importance that a synergy exist between the government effort and the private sector contribution in order to put an end to malaria in Africa, this, is the underlying principle of Malaria to Zero initiative as the project works towards significantly reducing deaths associated with malaria by 2020.
Together with diagnosis and treatment, the Malaria to Zero Initiative recommends that communities in rural, peri-urban and urban areas are engaged and appropriately fed with key information on prevention and treatment of Malaria.