At a forum organised by the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA) as part of activities to mark the World Malaria Day, the Federal Government have called on the private sector involvement in combating malaria in Nigeria.
Speaking on behalf of the Federal Government, Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stated that the private sector plays an integral role in eliminating the terrible disease from Nigeria.
According to Ehanire, the private sector can be influential to include innovation, policy, implementation and financing.
The Minister of State for Health enthused that the coming year would be a period of great opportunity for businesses to contribute to rapid acceleration of rate of progress in the global war against malaria.
He also revealed that the federal government is working on primary healthcare system to build up the national healthcare system and part of it is based on the national health act and the basic healthcare provision fund, which is to facilitate setting up healthcare down to the grassroots.
"We promised them that we are going to make use of their expertise, efficiency, management skills and their experience on distribution and giving them full partnership in the management of all programmes private sector is working with government," he told newsmen at the forum while speaking on incentives of private sector involvement in funding malaria.
The forum was themed ‘Accelerating investment to bring malaria to zero’ as CAMA sought for more private sector involvement to ensure in eradicating the disease in Africa.
Some of CAMA's sponsors and partners including Access Bank, Aliko Dangote Foundation were also represented at the forum.
According to Head, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan who is the Sustainability, Access Bank Plc, substantial malaria control investments have been made in Nigeria within the last decade.
Despite these investments, there are still considerable challenges in addressing the burden of disease and key performance indices are still below expectations.
According to her, accelerating investment in malaria in Nigeria and Africa will prevent more than 80 million illnesses and more than 300,000 related deaths annually.
President, GBC Health, Nancy Wildfeir-Field was also at the forum and stated that funding for malaria globally is only at 41 per cent of its 2020 target of $6.5 billion yet almost half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria.
The disease remains a major public health challenge, especially in Africa, which bears nearly 90 per cent of the global share of malaria cases and accounts for 91 per cent of malaria death.
She said Nigeria accounts for the highest number of cases and deaths from malaria in sub-saharan Africa. The economy loses $1.1 billion each year due to malaria-related absenteeism in the workplace and treatment costs.