Nigeria to Kick-start ‘Roll Out Malaria Vaccines’ Initiative in Kebbi, Bayelsa States

•To reduce malaria prevalence to 10% by 2025

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The federal government has announced that it would commence the ‘roll out of malaria vaccine’ in Kebbi and Bayelsa States this year after which the initiative would be deployed in the other parts of the country.

As part of renewed effort to eradicate the malaria scourge in the country, the government promised to work hard to reduce the prevalence of the disease to 10 per cent by 2025.

Speaking at a Media Chat organised by the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) in Abuja, yesterday, the National Coordinator of the Programme, Dr. Godwin Ntadom, said government was targeting to achieve 10 per cent reduction in malaria prevalent in Nigeria by 2025.

He said the target could be achieved through hard work by the government and with the support of the media and other partners.

“We are working hard to achieve the set target of reducing malaria by 10 per cent prevalence by 2025. Not only that we have worked so hard to reduce malaria prevalence to a point where it will no longer be public health challenge. Some countries like Cape Verde have recently achieve this and it not impossible for Nigeria to achieve this also,” he added.

Responding to a question on the latest prevalent rate of malaria in Nigeria, the Coordinator said although the government was yet to conclude report on malaria cases in 2023, there was every indication that malaria prevalence was on the decline going by the report of previous years.

Speaking on intervention programmes being implemented by government to curtail malaria scourge in the country, the Coordinator said the government has deployed new strategies including the provision of anti-malaria medicines.

“We distribute nets and we have started seasonal malaria chemo-preventive treatment especially in the northern part of the country where malaria prevalence is high and we have received very good commendation.

“I must tell you that the mortality in that region has reduced as a result of the interventions,” he said.

The Coordinator said since malaria cases normally increases during raining season, adding that the ministry was intensifying the intervention programmes in order to halt malaria incidence.

He said the ministry was also distributing malaria nets in the other parts of the country.

“We are ensuring that children who are vulnerable segments of the society get adequate preventive treatment. In the same vein, we also provide preventive treatment for pregnant women,” he added.

The Coordinator further disclosed that the ministry of health was planning to introduce preventive treatment among school children on a pilot basis.

Speaking on the high cost of malaria drugs, he said “most of the drugs are imported,” adding that given the exchange rate variations the increase in prices were expected.

He however said malaria drugs are cheaper in government hospitals.

The Coordinator further revealed that the malaria vaccine which Nigeria has subscribed to would soon be deployed in Kebbi and Bayelsa states as a pilot exercise.

Earlier in his remarks, the Head Advocacy Communication and Social Mobilisation of NMEP, Raphael Onyilo, highlighted the objectives of the interactive session, which according to him was to disseminate the right information on malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Also speaking, during the event, the Director, Programme Management, Oyeleke David tasked the media to sensitise the public on how to combat the health menace of malaria.

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