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Monday, July 15, 2024

Nigerian government creates advisory group and task force to eliminate malaria

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The Nigerian government has established an Advisory Structure for Malaria Elimination (AMEN) and a ministerial task force to scale up efforts to eliminate malaria.

This was revealed in a statement signed by the Senior Adviser on Media and External Relations to the Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, Tashikalmah Hallah.

Mr Pate, in inaugurating AMEN and the Ministerial Task Force, highlighted the devastating impact of malaria in Nigeria, citing alarming rates of mortality, morbidity, lost working hours, out-of-pocket expenses and government investments in treatments and interventions.

Muhammad Pate inaugurates the Malaria Elimination Task Force and its Independent Advisory Group on Malaria Elimination in Nigeria (PHOTO CREDIT: x.com @muhammadpate | via https://x.com/muhammadpate/status/1806473955164737745/photo/3)

The minister noted that despite being preventable and treatable, malaria remains a major challenge for the country.

AMEN Settings

Mr. Pate stressed that malaria remains a pressing concern for Nigeria and emphasized the need for sustained efforts and collective action to address this persistent public health challenge.

“Therefore, we need a paradigm shift from the standard approach to a more proactive and results-oriented method to defeat this disease,” he said.

“Under this premise, we invited academics, malaria programme experts, development partners, private sectors, civil societies, business enthusiasts, policy makers as well as the political class to a roundtable to rethink the country’s strategic approaches and visions on malaria, culminating in the creation of AMEN, among others, and the Ministerial Task Force on Malaria in Nigeria.”

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AMEN is chaired by Rose Leke, professor at the University of Yaoundé (Cameroon).

Other members include Dyann Wirth of the Harvard School of Public Health, Soji Adeyi, president of Resilience Health System, Ibrahim Abubakar of University College London, and Peter Piot of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The Minister said the advisory team will provide expert guidance on malaria elimination.

Muhammad Pate inaugurates the Malaria Elimination Task Force and its Independent Advisory Group on Malaria Elimination in Nigeria (PHOTO CREDIT: x.com @muhammadpate | via https://x.com/muhammadpate/status/1806473955164737745/photo/2)

He said: “They will offer evidence-based advisory services and meet regularly to review programme evidence and provide guidance on how to align with best practices for malaria elimination. They will also collaborate with CMH&SW and HMSH to review implementation when necessary. The team will meet every six months (twice a year).”

According to him, the Ministerial Task Force will comprise Nigeria-based stakeholders with deep knowledge and experience in malaria control and elimination efforts in the country.

Workgroup

He said the task force will ensure effective implementation of AMEN recommendations by working closely with the Federal Ministry of Health, development partners, donor agencies and other stakeholders to boost malaria elimination efforts in Nigeria.

The Minister added that the team will support the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) objective of reducing malaria incidence and enhancing the impact of intervention through coordinated prevention, diagnosis, treatment and awareness efforts.

The working group is co-chaired by Mr. Pate, with the Chair of the Nigeria Malaria Technical Working Group serving as Vice-Chair, providing strategic leadership and technical expertise.

READ ALSO: New study suggests malaria may cause hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases

The National Coordinator of the National Malaria Elimination Programme, Godwin Ntado, acts as Secretary and is responsible for facilitating the operations of the task force.

The team will meet every six to eight weeks, with additional meetings as scheduled, providing that membership will undergo biennial review for renewal or replacement, ensuring optimal performance and fresh perspectives.

Malaria burden

In February, the Minister denounced the persistent burden of malaria in the country despite decades of elimination efforts.

She called for a strategic review, noting that Nigeria still accounts for 30 percent of global malaria cases, with 68 million cases and 190,000 deaths reported in 2021 alone.

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