ACOMIN: Malaria Accounts for 35% of Primary Healthcare Patients

•Seven health facilities renovated in Kaduna

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN) has said a recent health survey it conducted revealed that over 35 per cent of patients who visited the primary healthcare facilities to access services tested positive to malaria.

ACOMIN, as a civil society network said it had deployed solutions to technologically drive its anti-malaria intervention across the implementing states.

It said an Accountability Management Information Systems (ACCOMIS) was deployed with the aim of fostering electronic data collection, analysis and monitoring respectively.

While presenting its report on its journey so far towards eradicating malaria pandemic through community-led monitoring and strengthening of health systems in Nigeria, a Senior Advocacy Officer of ACOMIN, Fatima Kolo Abdullahi who represented the National Coordinator, said from the prevalent rate of malaria, there is need to intensify efforts towards strengthening health systems in eradicating malaria.

“The use of ACCOMIS on this CLM project has revealed that one of the most assessed services at the health facility by clients is the malaria services and upon testing it revealed that over 35 per cent of tested cases are positive, hence the need to intensify efforts towards strengthening health systems in eradicating malaria,” she said.

She said the group have been implementing the community-led monitoring (CLM) project funded by Global Fund across thirteen states in Nigeria.

According to her, the aim of the project was to pursue an increase in the quality of services, generate real time objective information and assess the quality and quantity of service delivery, reduce wastage and loss of interventions and advocate for increased resource allocation for malaria intervention.

She also explained that intervention technology was being used as data collection tool and to aid data analysis.

By working with various stakeholders across the spectrum of private, public, political and community office, the Coordinator said ACOMIN had achieved noteworthy successes and contributed to mitigating several issues confronting the health sector in the communities where the project is being implemented.

One of these successes of the CLM project was the infrastructural development recorded through advocacy to political leaders, she added.

“For example, during quarter seven, the health facility structure was renovated and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to serve the community in Angwan-Maichibi community, Kaduna South LGA, Kaduna State. When ACOMIN’s team first got there, they discovered that the Comprehensive health facility was dilapidated and was neither conducive nor safe for the community members which led to low patronage.

“To tackle this, the team from ACOMIN conducted various advocacy visits to stakeholders at the community level. The community head and some members of the community took up the issue and went all out to find a solution even from the local government leaders.

“One of the stakeholders who was reached through these advocacies was the LGA Chairman. The LGA Chairman, using the influence of his office, subsequently facilitated the renovation of the dilapidated facility building to a standard health facility in that community and equipped it with an incubator and wards for male, female and children respectively. “This intervention has in turn increased malaria services patronage amongst many others at the facility,” she said.

ACOMIN said several other improvements to health infrastructure had been attained through the project in Kano and Delta States, among others.

ACOMIN further said it succeeded in facilitating the exercise of political commitment to health on the Global Fund Community led Monitoring project in the last three years.

 “These are just a few out of the many ways the CLM project has facilitated health system strengthening through collaboration with stakeholders at all levels.

“In spite of the rising challenges, there have been commendable and growing commitments at community and state levels to help strengthen health systems thereby contributing to the elimination of malaria in Nigeria,” she said.

Among the actions recommended by the group to help in eradicating malaria scourge were for government at all levels to make health a priority by increasing their budgetary allocations for health.

It urged the populace to fully participate in the forthcoming presidential elections and not sell their votes; but vote for candidates who have demonstrated commitment to improving Nigeria’s health sector both with their track records and manifestos.

In addition, ACOMIN made a case for political leaders to get their healthcare from government health facilities within the country to force the leaders develop and strengthen Nigeria’s health system.

In 2021, nearly half of the world’s population was at risk of malaria with an estimated 247 million cases of malaria worldwide.

The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 619,000 in 2021 alone.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the African region carried a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden and was home to 95 per cent of malaria cases and 96 per cent of malaria deaths. Children under 5 accounted for about 80 per cent of all malaria deaths in the region.

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