2012 World Malaria Day Celebration in Nigeria

The Minister of Health accompanied by the wife of executive governor of Rivers state and chairperson of NIFAA during inspection of an RDT exhibition stand The Minister of Health accompanied by the wife of executive governor of Rivers state and chairperson of NIFAA during inspection of an RDT exhibition stand

Pledges of commitment by government and partners and advocacy for malaria prevention and control characterized interventions made  during events organized to mark this year’s World Malaria Day (WMD) in Nigeria.

The weeklong celebration kicked off with a well-attended Ministerial press conference on 24 April 2012 at the Minister’s conference room in Abuja.

Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Health, Prof. C.O Onyebuchi Chukwu, noted that future of malaria prevention and control in Nigeria was bright given: the reduction in ill-health and death due to malaria, increased political commitment by government, and an improved access to technical and financial resources from national and international partners.

The Minister stressed the need to sustain the efforts to contain malaria in the country saying that the fragile gains achieved so far could be reversed unless malaria remained at the top of national and international political and development agendas.

The theme for WMD 2012 was "Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria"

The WHO Representative in Nigeria, Dr David Okello, who  spoke on behalf of the Malaria partners in Nigeria, noted that malaria mortality rates had fallen by more than 25% globally since 2000, and by 33% in the WHO African Region, while investments in malaria prevention and control had  continued to yield remarkable return.

He added that It was important to sustain the momentum by getting even more government and partner commitment to the country’s malaria prevention and control efforts. Dr Okello also pledged WHO’s support to ensure that malaria was brought under control in Nigeria.

In her remarks, the National Coordinator of National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), Mrs Chioma N.  Amajoh, emphasized that the slogan ‘’let’s work together’’ chosen by the NMCP partners in Nigeria to complement the WMD 2012 theme, called for sustained and increased commitment to malaria control efforts in Nigeria.

A Town Hall meeting organized on 26 May 2012 brought together over 1000 women and men from communities in and around Abuja to discuss issues of common interest and to voice concerns and preferences for their community with regards malaria control in Nigeria.

Part of this year’s planned WMD activities included visits to the Governors of seven states with poor performance in malaria control.

In this light, advocacy visits were paid to the Kogi State Governor on 26 April and to the Rivers State Governor on 4 May.

Both governors reaffirmed their readiness to increase financial support for malaria prevention and control activities in their states.

The main national commemorative function for WMD 2012 which took place in Rivers state on the 4 May 2012 was  the Investiture of Nigeria’s  Malaria Ambassadors:  Alhaji Aliko Dangote, a prominent businessman, and  Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State. Governor Amaechi is the current head of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum.

Both ambassadors reaffirmed their commitment to tackling malaria.

Also worthy of note was the launch of ‘’Focus on Nigeria’’ an  advocacy kit which the documents the events, progress, achievements and challenges encountered in Nigeria by NMCP in the past decade.

The contents of the kit show what can be achieved with effective collaboration, commitment and synergy between the Nigerian government and the NMCP partners.

This year's WMD commemoration in Nigeria attracted a wide range of partners. There was a heavy presence of the private sector participants who exhibited a range of products for malaria control in line with the recent government policy on public-private partnership for malaria control.

Unlike in the past, when the private sector tended to promote monotherapy for treatment of malaria, a dramatic shift to artemisinin based combination therapy was noticed. There was also a display of larviciding products which attracted a lot of attention.