Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The Dangote Foundation will on Monday launch a document on the Private Sector Engagement Strategy to Eliminate Malaria scourge in Nigeria.
The initiative which is going to be unveiled in collaboration with the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), of the Federal Ministry of Health is to help in reversing Nigeria from accounting for 300, 000 out of 100 million global Malaria deaths.
The Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Foundation, Zouera Yousoufu said in Lagos that the foundation’s concerns about Nigeria as the country with the highest number of malaria casualties in the world informed its decision to lead the total eradication of the scourge out of the nation.
The document, titled “Engaging the Private Sector to Eliminate Malaria in Nigeria”, Zouera said was a result of months of planning, surveys and deliberations with key private sector leaders and important stakeholders.
She explained that document highlights the priority areas for private sector support in the fight against malaria as well as a detailed strategy for private sector engagement and steps for implementation.
According to her, Nigeria has 25% of the world’s disease burden of malaria and reports more deaths due to the disease than any other country in the world. Malaria is responsible for a significant number of deaths of women and children every year.
“It also accounts for 60% of outpatient hospital visits and 30% of hospital admissions. An estimated US$1.1 billion (N480billion) is lost annually in Nigeria due to malaria-related absenteeism and treatment costs.
“With the significant role the private sector already plays in the Nigerian health industry and the economy as a whole, and the recent near success in the fight to eradicate polio in the country, it is only natural to leverage the private sector’s strengths and unique capabilities in accelerating the efforts targeting a malaria-free Nigeria. Hence, the development of this strategy document by the NMEP.
The Dangote Foundation boss disclosed that her Foundation was working closely with the private sector organization Anadach Group to come out with a policy document proposal that addresses the scourge of malaria and how to eliminate from Nigeria once and for all.
Despite so many gains in malaria prevention and treatment in Nigeria, the widespread prevalence of counterfeit, substandard medicines were said to be contributing to the alarmingly high number of malaria deaths and costs of health care in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the US government, through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced the launch of “Make a Difference” hotline and reward programme that will offer up to $10,000 (approximately two million naira) for information concerning the illegal distribution of stolen and falsified anti-malaria medication in Nigeria.
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