National malaria elimination programme reviews progress in Nigeria

The Honourable Minister of Health, Prof C.O.Onyebuchi Chukwu, has through the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), hosted a 4-day Annual Review Meeting (ARM) of Malaria Programme managers from 17th – 20th March, with the theme; Sustaining the Push towards Malaria Elimination in Nigeria.

Professor Onyeabuchi in his opening speech recounted the progress made so far in malaria control which included; the distribution of LLINs, policy review and strategic plan development, the scaling-up of access to case management using Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACTs) and Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) for malaria as well as the expansion of the plan for vector management under the Integrated Testing, Treatment and Larval control programme (ITTLC).

The objective of the meeting was to engage State policy makers on the LLIN replacement campaigns, review progress made across various antimalarial intervention areas, identify implementation challenges and offer solutions which according to the Minister ‘is intended to trigger a positive push towards the goal of achieving elimination of the disease in the near future’ and is firmly ‘in line with government’s commitment to moving malaria elimination efforts to the desired goal’.

The ARM also provided NMEP the opportunity to assess the status of malaria control across the States and the FCT, updated participants knowledge on the current trend of malaria interventions globally, highlighted best practices, identified bottlenecks and at the same forum, proffered possible solutions.  The meeting platform was leveraged for advocacy to key stakeholders for increased funding for malaria control activities in Nigeria as well as initiate resource mobilization efforts for the implementation of the New Strategic plan. It was also an avenue for the country to dialogue on priorities for the Global Fund new funding model (NFM)

Consequent upon the outcome of the peer review and assessment conducted for the various states programme performance, awards were presented  to Enugu, Bayelsa and Niger states as the first, second and third best performing states in that order.

Participants at the meeting included the commissioners for health, State Directors of Public Health, Malaria programme managers from the 36 states and FCT, WHO, WARN, HWG/ALMA, USAID/PMI, UNICEF, DFID/SUNMAP, World Bank amongst other partner organizations