By Chukwuma Muanya
• Govt renames campaign for better impact
As part of efforts aimed at eliminating cases of Malaria attack in the country by half and deepening the understanding of modern malaria treatment methods the Federal Ministry of Health has announced a name change for its anti malaria programme to Nigerian Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP).
Director of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), Dr. Bridget Okoeguale, at a recent Roll Back Malaria Programme hosted by Total Upstream and Family Care Association (FCA) said the Nigeria Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) seeks a comprehensive approach in the fight against malaria through the distribution of mosquito bed nets, availability of anti-malarial drugs, free malaria screening and medication, educational training programs and resources for various sectors, focus group studies, and high impact awareness campaigns. “The NMEP targets predominantly rural communities in states throughout Nigeria,” Okoeguale said.
FMoH, FCA and Total Upstream at the three-day event held in Kuje community of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja distributed of 3000 long lasting insecticide nets to indigenes of participating communities, free diagnosis and treatment of persons who tested positive to malaria, including women and children; intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) for pregnant women as well as capacity building for community-based health workers, patent store operators and Roll Back Malaria focal point officers at the local government level.
Managing Director, Total Upstream, Guy Maurice, represented by Executive Director, Human Resources, Mrs. Edith Ofili-Okonkwo, regretted the staggering number of people who were dying from malaria globally every year. He added that the task of stemming the tide should be a concerted one between the private sector and the government, which is why Total took up the challenge.
“The numbers are staggering: 300 million worldwide are affected by malaria every year with nearly a million people dying annually from the illness. To combat this, more collaboration is needed; more partnerships are required; more private sector involvement is essential. No one entity can fight this problem alone. That is why Total is proud to be involved with others in this battle,” Maurice stated.
Explaining the choice of Kuje community as venue for the outreach programme, Programme Coordinator of Family Care Association (FCA) Joshua Kempeneer, recalled that a malaria prevention community initiative, spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Health - National Malaria Control Program was launched in Kuje on World Malaria Day on April 25, 2013.
He added that though so much was accomplished during the World Malaria Day activities, the overwhelming needs of the community in the fight against malaria and the need for continued intervention and investment into training local health workers and community agents were noted. Based on the need and recommendations, Kuje was selected as one of the beneficiary communities for support.
Lead Physician of the campaign, Dr Damien Nwaneri, explained the malaria treatment process: “The first thing is to carry out free malaria tests for members of the community using the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits. Those that test positive to malaria are then treated with the ACT malaria treatment. As for the pregnant women you see around, what we did was to treat them with the Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) as needed.”
Nwaneri added: “It is important to add that the process that we have adopted is in line with standard malaria treatment recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Of course you are aware that the Nigeria Malaria Control and Prevention Program’ (NMCPP) is a health initiative in partnership with the Nigerian Government through the Ministry of Health and National Malaria Control Program. The focus is to aid the control and prevention of malaria in the communities.”
It was reliably gathered that Total Exploration and Production has adopted Anti Malaria campaign as one of its key corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and is deploying the pilot project in Kuje to launch the company’s investment into malaria prevention and control programs in Nigeria. The same activity is planned for Rivers and Lagos States in 2013, before embarking on a nationwide malaria prevention and control program in 2014 in collaboration with FCA and the National Malaria Elimination (NMEP).
Family Care Association (FCA) is an International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO). The organization has been active in over 25 states throughout Nigeria where her non-profit charity and humanitarian activities are targeted at the economically challenged rural and urban population of Nigeria.
Since the onset of the NMCBP in 2009, FCA has worked in partnership and collaboration with the Nigerian Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Control Program at the federal and state levels, and has built its objectives and methods alongside the national strategy and framework for malaria eradication.