The Federal Government and Dangote Foundation have inaugurated a document to explore resources from private investors towards eradicating malaria in the country.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, while inaugurating the private sector initiative tagged: “Engaging the private sector to eliminate malaria in Nigeria”, in Lagos said that the present administration was determined to work with private sector not only in malaria control but also in the other health challenges in Nigeria.
Our correspondent reports that malaria, which has been described as one of the major causes of death of women and children in the country, accounts for 60 % of out patients visits and 30 % of hospital admissions in Nigeria.
An estimated $1.1 Billion US Dollar is lost annually in Nigeria due to malaria treatment cost. It is the major cause of absenteeism in the work place.
Adewole said, “Working with you today to launch this important document is a welcome development, it is important that we embark on this initiative, it would increase efficiency and ensure that we deliver”.
He expressed worry that despite the large volume of mosquito nets distributed in the country; the prevalence of malaria is still high which clearly indicated that most of those who received the nets declined to use it.
Speaking on local production of Mosquito nets, Adewole urged private investors to consider the possibilities of producing mosquito nets in the country.
The Minister said, “We cannot afford to be importing net, this net can be produced in Nigeria and the market is huge. We need about 30 million nets every year in Nigeria. A net has a life span of about 3years and if you compute on the bases of 1 net for two people Nigerian would need 90 million nets over 3 years so every year we need to replace 30 million nets, so there is a huge market apart from opportunities for export.
In his remarks, the Chairman Dangote Foundation who is also the Malaria Ambassador in Nigeria, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said that Private sector had an important role to play in mobilizing resources towards Malaria Elimination Programme in Nigeria.
The industrialist said that Private Sector Health Alliance in Nigeria which he is the funding patron and Co-founder focused on mobilizing the private sector across the country under one coordinated platform to leverage on private sector capabilities, advocacy, innovation and resources to complement government efforts in the fight against malaria. He added that Mr. Bill Gates and Other Prominent Business leaders have collaborate with Health Alliance to provide resources in the fight against malaria in Nigeria.
Dangote said, “Through my foundation we continue to contribute funds to support the government on National Malaria Elimination Programme and other NGOs directly involved in the fight against malaria. I would continue to engage government and partners to advocate for increased commitment towards addressing the financing gaps that hinder the elimination of malaria in Nigeria”.
According to him, as malaria Ambassador in Nigeria, he would lead by example through provision of comprehensive malaria education and treatment to all his staff at all his business locations across the country. He further pledged to support the Save One Million Lives Initiative programme launched recently by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Earlier, in his presentation, the National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme, Abdu Bala Muhammed, who was represented by Deputy Director in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Aro Modiu Aliu, said that Private Sector could support the fight against malaria through communications (educational messages), Capacity building, information Technology to improve disease surveillance, Direct funding, purchase of malaria commodities amongst others.