World Malaria Day: U.S. partners Nigeria in prevention, treatment

By SDNonline

In its Annual Report released to the U.S. Congress, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) said that in 2020, despite the constraints of COVID-19, PMI helped Nigeria provide 14.7 million treatment doses at the facility and community levels, 8.2 million of which were for pregnant women and children.

PMI distributed 7.1 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs), provided 7.2 million rapid test kits, and trained 9,300 health workers to properly diagnose and treat patients for early detection of the disease.

Led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented together with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PMI works with partner organizations to benefit more than 41 million people across Nigeria.

Use of ITNs is one of the most effective measures to prevent malaria. Since 2010, PMI has supported Nigeria in the distribution of more than 61 million bed nets, which are now in use in 43 percent of Nigerian households, up from just 23 percent at the start of the initiative.

“Malaria is one of the leading causes of death among children in Nigeria,” said USAID Mission Director Anne Patterson, who oversees PMI activities in collaboration with CDC leadership. “We are pleased to see our partnership with Nigeria has had clear success and will continue this support with proven methods of prevention and treatment against malaria.”

Nevertheless, malaria remains an onerous burden among the poorest and the most vulnerable echelons of Nigerian society. During pregnancy, the disease can pose a life-threatening risk to both mothers and babies; malaria also causes adults and children to miss work and school, contributing to economic hardship.

PMI works with Nigeria’s National Malaria Elimination Program to scale-up proven, cost-effective, and life-saving malaria control interventions centered around ITN distribution, intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women, diagnostic testing, and treatment.

Simultaneously – and equally important – PMI helps to strengthen health systems and build the skills of health workers to deliver malaria services. PMI also enhances the capacity of federal and state health officials to manage malaria control activities.

U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Raj Panjabi said, “Science shows we can beat malaria and we can beat it in our lifetime. Yet we need bold action to stop COVID-19 from holding us back. The United States is proud to partner with Nigeria to continue the fight.”

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