Legislative Health Summit: Coordinator canvasses increased funding for malaria programme

Dr Audu Mohammed, the Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), has appealed to legislators in the country
to increase  funding for malaria programme in the annual budget to eliminate the disease.

Mohammed made the appeal in a presentation on “ Malaria Elimination; Status, Achievements, Challenges and Recommendations’’
at the ongoing 3rd Annual Legislative Summit on Health in Abuja.

The coordinator said increased funding at national and sub-national levels would help to scale up interventions to cover eligible Nigerians and to sustain the malaria

He also appealed to the legislators to put malaria high on the political agenda and include interventions in their constituency projects.

According to him, the way to eliminate the disease is to support and participate in advocacy and communication to ensure universal access to quality malaria services.

He said “we need to strengthen health systems at all levels to support sustainable and quality malaria services and we should ensure availability of quality malaria services.

“We also need to strengthen surveillance and generate quality evidence to inform roll-out of inventions for the different epidemiological settings in the country.’’

The coordinator said that malaria remained a major public health challenge and a major cause of mobidity and mortality, affecting 90 per cent of the population.

He added that the considerable efforts by government and partners led to reduction of malaria from 42 per cent prevalence rate to 27 per cent.

He said Nigeria accounted for 25 per cent of global malaria burden, 53 per cent in West Africa, adding that the disease resulted to 81,640 deaths annually.

The coordinator said that the programme had been implementing National Malaria Strategic Plan (2014- 2020) to reduce the burden.

He, however, said that the need to have in-country (Global Malaria Programme) certified manufacturers of malarial inventions commodities was
one of the major challenges of implementing the programme.

Other challenges, he said, were weak capability and evidence, especially at the sub-national levels for better targeted response to different malaria epidemiology in the country.

“Poor data quality and reporting including surveillance, weak health system and coordinator across the all tiers of government, including training and capacity building and security issues in the North-East.

“Harnessing the full potential of the private sector and philanthropy including having in-country manufactured WHO pre-qualified malaria products,’’ he said.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the summit is “Efficiency in the Health Sector and the Role of Legislators”.

The summit is the 3rd Annual edition of Legislative Summit on Universal Health Coverage (UCH), bringing both national and state lawmakers together to discuss and take decisions on UCH. (NAN)