In Jigawa, Malaria Scourge Worse than COVID-19, Group Says

Jigawa State that is sitting in the heart of Northern Nigeria, is the most ‘’severely affected’’ of all the 36 states of the federation by malaria, says Malaria Consortium. 

Before the COVID-19 lockdown took hold, the first of a new kind of ‘town hall’ meeting took place in several local government areas – Dutse, Ringim and Kafin Hausa in March. 

The meetings provided people from these communities with a platform to share their opinions about malaria prevention and control.

The meetings were attended in large numbers, with many eager to engage with the conversation and spur further progress in their communities.

Local leaders, civil society members and Malaria Consortium staff were also in attendance, having been convened as part of Malaria Consortium’s Support to the National Malaria Programme 2 (SuNMaP 2). 

The programme funded by UK aid from the UK government is working with partners in six states in Nigeria to strengthen the response to malaria at the community, regional and national levels.

Those in attendance at meetings in all three regions raised four core issues:

The need for increased knowledge on the use of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets.

The need for increased knowledge on environmental management and it’s link to the spread of malaria.

The importance of pregnant women attending antenatal care services which includes malaria prevention.

The general need for resources for the provision of diagnosis and treatment of malaria in health facilities.

In response to the concerns raised by communities, local stakeholders committed to several new campaigns including environmental education workshops, house to house awareness promoting mosquito net use and new awareness campaigns in schools.

The impact of this new forum doesn’t stop at the community level. State public dialogues – a higher-level meeting including government officials, traditional and religious leaders –have also been held following the community level dialogues. 

Key highlights from the town hall meetings were recorded and presented at the state level and provided a constructive basis for discussions.  

Overall, the participation of citizens and engagement of a wide variety of stakeholders at both town hall meetings and the state public dialogue has led to concrete commitments from governing bodies both in individual LGAs and state-wide.

When the next round of town hall meetings and state public dialogues occur, all stakeholders and citizens will feedback on the progress they’ve made towards their commitments in the shared goal of reducing malaria cases even further.

From 2008 to 2016, Malaria Consortium delivered the UK aid-funded Support to the National Malaria Programme in Nigeria (SuNMaP). 

This programme focused on scaling up malaria programme interventions in an effort to achieve universal coverage of antimalarial commodities and services for the prevention and treatment of malaria. 

Between 2010 and 2015, national malaria prevalence among children aged six to 59 months decreased from 42 to 27 percent, reaching an average of 21 percent in SuNMaP supported states.

Despite this progress, in 2017 Nigeria still accounted for 25 percent of malaria cases globally, making it one of the highest-burden countries in the world. Such a figure highlights the need for a further, comprehensive malaria programme.

SuNMaP 2 is a UK aid-funded follow-up to SuNMaP that will support government efforts to further reduce Nigeria’s malaria burden. 

The programme will be implemented by Malaria Consortium and will integrate malaria prevention, treatment, and other interventions at the community and service delivery levels, as well as in other settings, through public and private sector partnerships. 

It aims to improve the planning, financing and delivery of sustainable malaria programmes across 165 local government areas in six states of Nigeria: Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, and Yobe.

It is essential that there is government involvement and stewardship of SuNMaP 2, including through the allocation and release of funds, to ensure that the interventions are sustainable. 

Malaria Consortium and its partners will, therefore, work in collaboration with government structures at the national and sub-national levels to coordinate and harmonise the planning, implementation and evaluation of programme interventions.

This programme has also been designed to ensure collaboration with other relevant UK aid-funded programmes that are addressing issues around governance, accountability and health systems strengthening, to facilitate long-term institutional and transformational change. SuNMaP 2 is a performance-based programme, with robust monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning components. 

The programme aims to reduce Nigeria’s all-cause under-five mortality rate from 128 per 1,000 live births in 2013 to 85 per 1,000 live births by 2022, and reduce the proportion of children aged six to 59 months that are infected with malaria parasites from 27 percent in 2015 to 16 percent by 2020.

To achieve this, it will strengthen national and state government stewardship and increase the proportion of total annual malaria expenditure that comes from a domestic source, and increase the availability of antimalarial commodities, so that 70 percent of the population has access to and sleep under an insecticide-treated net.

It will also contribute to more efficient and equitable malaria prevention and treatment service delivery. This includes: 70 percent of eligible children receiving seasonal malaria chemoprevention, 40 percent of febrile children aged six to 59 months receiving a diagnostic test, and 50 percent of children under five that have been treated for malaria receiving artemisinin-based combination therapy.

Furthermore, it will ensure that citizens and institutions are informed of malaria prevention and treatment services and all other programme interventions, and embed an evidence-based learning environment in the National Malaria Elimination Programme and State Malaria Elimination Programme.

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