ABUJA, NIGERIA- Today, the United States Embassy in Nigeria commemorated World Malaria Day during a ceremony that highlighted the global campaign to “end malaria for good.” This year, Nigeria chose the slogan; “what is your role?”- to recognize individual and collective roles to end the scourge of malaria.
Each year in Nigeria, more than 80 million people fall ill and 300,000 die from malaria. The U.S. government, through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is committed to raising awareness about the proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
Early and accurate diagnosis is essential for rapid and effective disease management and surveillance. Malaria diagnosis is vital as misdiagnosis allows disease progression from uncomplicated to severe forms, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality. In 2015, Nigeria adopted the T3: “test, treat and track” strategy for malaria case management.
“Ending malaria will increase school attendance, boost worker productivity and significantly lower out-of-pocket cost for treatment. This is why malaria prevention and control remain a major U.S. foreign assistance objective,” said David J. Young, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Nigeria.
The national guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of malaria recommends prompt diagnosis either by microscopy or malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test
(mRDT) before treatment using first-line Artemisinin Based Combination Therapy (ACT) is administered. It improves overall management of patients with febrile illnesses, and helps reduce the emergence and spread of drug resistance to anti-malarial medications.
The U.S. Government supports local partners to design and implement programs to improve public and private sector adherence to diagnosis and treatment guidelines. With an investment of over $420 million in Nigeria since 2010 and $75 million in 2016 alone, PMI delivered nearly 7.5 million RDTs and 12 million ACT treatment doses in support to 3,000 health facilities across 11 states in Nigeria.
To end malaria for good, the Deputy Chief of Mission, David J. Young, has made a call to Nigerians, to commit to sleeping in a treated bed net every night; to remember that not every fever is malaria and demand a “test before treatment”, before beginning a full regimen of Artemisinin Based Combination therapy.
Alhaji Abdul’Aziz Yar Abubakar, Zamfara State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole and Alhaji Mansur Ahmed, representing the President of Dangote Foundation and Private Sector Malaria Ambassador, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, all gave remarks at the ceremony, in support of efforts to test, treat, track, and eradicate malaria in Nigeria.