I am delighted to be present at this occasion in commemoration of the 2017 World Malaria Day. As you are all aware, the World Malaria Day celebration originated from a decision by the African heads of government in 2000, to set aside a day to draw attention and solicit support for the fight against malaria. Since then, 25th of April of every year has been earmarked as the World Malaria Day celebration.
Seventeen years later, the question that arises in the mind of everyone is “have we made any progress in Nigeria? I can say without doubt in my mind that we have recorded some modest achievement. For example, ownership of insecticide treated net (ITN) has increased from 8% in 2008 (NDHS) to 69% in 2015 (NMIS). ITN use by children under 5 years has increased from 6% in 2008 (NDHS) to 44% in 2015 (NMIS). Similarly, ITN use by pregnant women has also increased from 4.8% in 2008 (NDHS) to 49% in 2015 (NMIS).
Let me also add that there has been an increase in Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) coverage. IPT2 coverage has increased from 5% in 2008 (NDHS) to 37% in 2015 (NMIS) while IPT3 coverage increased from 2% in 2008 (NDHS) to 19% in 2015 (NMIS). Use of parasitological tests to diagnose malaria have also increased over time in the country. The percentage of children under 5 who had blood taken from finger or heel for malaria diagnosis has increased from 5% in 2010 (NMIS) to 13% in 2015 (NMIS). Progress has also been achieved in the increase use of ACTs for the treatment of malaria from 12% in 2010 (NMIS) to 38% in 2015 (NMIS). Lastly, there has been a reduction in malaria prevalence from 42% in 2010 (NMIS) to 27% in 2015 (NMIS 2015).
These achievements would not have been possible without the support and contributions of our malaria partners particularly the USAID/ Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI).
USAID/PMI has supported long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) distribution through mass campaigns and routine distribution, pilot implementation of Indoor residual spraying (IRS) and provision of antimalarial commodities – RDTs, ACTs, SPs. They have also provided support for the implementation of malaria in pregnancy (MIP), seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization (ACSM), diagnosis, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) as well as capacity building both at the national and states levels.
A look at the indices listed earlier shows that we are still far from our dream of malaria free Nigeria. Our current Malaria Strategic Plan which is meant to lead us to pre-elimination, has been praised for being focused and articulate, but it is coming at a time when the resources for malaria control are dwindling. In addition, there are limited resources for effective programme coordination, monitoring and evaluation. Let me use this opportunity to thank USAID/PMI for their invaluable support since 2011. I am aware that USAID/PMI is covering 11 States and the National Malaria Programme with a substantial investment of about $490 million.
May I use this occasion to solicit for more support to enable us achieve a pre-elimination phase in 2020. Let me assure you that the Federal Ministry of Health under my leadership will account for “every penny” donated to this course. The Federal Government has also allocated more resources to Malaria control programme in the 2017 appropriation.
Finally, I congratulate the United States Embassy in Nigeria for putting together this very unique celebration. Most importantly, as we commemorate, I urge us all to, at the center of our discussions, meetings and commemorations, remember Nigerians whose lives are affected and could be lost by Malaria. I urge us all to use the event of today as a fuel for our future actions.
Thank you and God bless you all