Saturday, 20 July 2013

MALARIA: US Tackles Malaria In Nigeria With N11.7 billion

• Partners ACC, NAFDAC On Counterfeit Anti-malaria Campaign 
ASpart of efforts to reduce an estimated 100 million malaria cases with over 300,000 deaths per year in the country, the United States Government (USG) has provided $73 million (N11.68 billion) to support the President’s Malaria Initiative in Nigeria.
     USG in partnership with Anti-Counterfeiting Collaboration Nigeria (ACC) led by its President, Tee Mac Iseli and the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Friday, in Lagos, launched the Counterfeit Anti-malaria Medication Awareness Campaign (CAMAC).
     ACC is a non-political, non-governmental, non-profit making coalition, which was conceived in October 2006 with the aim of bringing brand owners, enforcement agencies and interested parties together, to form an effective ‘opposition party’ against counterfeiters, infringers and pirates in Nigeria. 
     ACC disclosed at the launch that it has resurrected two anti-counterfeiting laws from the National Assembly and plans to represent them after a public discuss on December 5, 2013.
     Also, the Commissioner for Health Ogun State, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, has warned that 80 per cent of fevers treated as malaria in Nigeria are not even as he called for appropriate diagnosis before treatment.
      Acting Consul General of the US Embassy in Lagos, Dehab Ghebreab, at the launch of CAMAC said: “Given its devastating impact, malaria prevention and control are major foreign assistance objectives of the USG.  With Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 funds, the USG is providing $73 million to support the President’s Malaria Initiative in Nigeria, a comprehensive package of malaria interventions, implemented by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which will reach an estimated population of 39 million people in eleven target states.”
       Ghebreab said the US President’s Malaria Initiative supports four scientifically proven key interventions to prevent and treat malaria. These, he said, are the promotion of insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual insecticide spraying, the scale-up of intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women, and supporting better diagnostic services at public health facilities.
      The Acting US Consul General expressed her country’s optimism that the campaign will raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeit anti-malarials, and will help to reduce the high prevalence of counterfeit and substandard medicines in Nigerian markets.
         According to her, given the importance of the programme, the Consul recently learned that the US State Department has provided the resources to continue the outreach next year, which they hope to do utilizing SMS technology to reach an even wider audience. “By using radio, the medium with the largest reach in Nigeria, we hope to spread the word to millions of Nigerians and help save lives,” she said.
According to statistics from the USAID, malaria is a major public health problem in Nigeria where it accounts for more cases and deaths than in any other country in the world.
      Ghebreab said: “There are an estimated 1000 million malaria cases with over 300,000 deaths per year in Nigeria. This compares with 215,000 deaths per year in Nigeria from Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
     “Among those at risk are children. Malaria is the third leading cause of death for children under five years worldwide, after pneumonia and diarrheal disease.”
       Tee Mac Iseli said the campaign is appositive war against counterfeit medicines in Nigeria. He urged the federal government to return the Standard Organisation (SON) to the Ports and ensure 100 per cent inspection of all goods to prevent counterfeit medicines especially from China and India.
    Tee Mac said ACC has employed musicians, movie actors and wrestlers in the campaign to produce posters and radio jingles that are expected to reach most Nigerians even in the nook and crannies of this country. The celebrities include Emeka Ike, Yinka Davies, Sammy Okposun, The Ultimate Commander, among others.
       Soyinka said the major problem of public health in Nigeria is poor communication especially in the purchase and distribution ch

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