By Mustapha Yauri
The Federal Ministry of Health has unveiled a “Made in Nigeria” insecticide treated mosquito nets as part of efforts to eliminate malaria scourge in the country.
The locally produced mosquito nets are adjudged to be long lasting insecticides treated nets.
Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, unveiled the product on Tuesday in Abuja while briefing newsmen as part of the activities to commemorate the 2017 World Malaria Day.
Adewole said he was against using Nigerian money to buy nets from another country and challenged indigenous companies to produce the nets in the country.
“I am very happy to declare to this gathering that the challenge was taken up and it has yielded result.
“I was told that there are three companies; one each in Aba, Lagos and Abuja taking up the challenge,’’ he said.
The minister said the nets were made in Aba, one of the manufacturing hubs of the country, adding: “I can tell you if it is made in Aba, it must be good.’’
Adewole said that there was a good market for the product in the country, stressing that Nigeria needs at least 30 million nets annually.
He said Nigeria through the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) has achieved remarkable targets in the implementation of its various interventions put in place to curb the menace of malaria disease.
He said that it was noteworthy that the thrust of malaria control in Nigeria was prevention through multiple strategies such as vector control and prevention of malaria in pregnancy.
According to Adewole, Nigeria has instituted the policy of testing before treatment with the deployment of the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits nationwide.
“Training and capacities of healthcare providers have been built in both private and public sectors on the use of RDT.
“Presently diagnostic services for malaria using the test kit can be accessed cheaply at all levels of the healthcare delivery, most especially the community level,’’ he said.
Adewole said the ministry and partners had distributed over 58.8 million LLINs during the replacement campaign that was conducted in 22 states between December 2013 and September 2016.
The Country Representative of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Wondi Alemu, said malaria remained one of the public health priorities of WHO in Africa.
Alemu, represented by Dr Rex Mpazanje, said malaria had been responsible for the annual death of over 400,000 people globally.
He said the theme of the 2017 World Malaria Day, which is `End Malaria for Good’, befitted the resolve of the country to accelerate and sustain efforts towards defeating malaria.
Alemu, however, noted that countries including Nigeria had been committed on ending malaria by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets.
He described the Day as an important occasion to renew the commitment and galvanise continued domestic and external investment for malaria prevention and control.
Alemu said WHO had adopted the framework for the implementation of global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030 and urged Nigeria to domesticate the global strategy.
He added that the blueprint described priority interventions and actions for countries, providing strategic approaches to progress towards malaria elimination in Africa.
“WHO wishes to commit its continued partnership and support to the government of Nigeria in helping the country to overcome challenges of malaria control at all level,’’ he said.