Friday 23rd June, 2017
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Dangote Foundation to launch war against malaria

Dangote Foundation to launch war against malaria

With Nigeria rated as ac­counting for 300,000 of the annual 100 mil­lion deaths from malaria compli­cations worldwide, the Dangote Foundation is set to launch a pri­vate sector policy document to re­verse the trend.
The Foundation said it is championing the eradication of malaria in Nigeria because the death toll from the disease shows that Nigeria has the highest num­ber of malaria casualties in the world.
The Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Foundation, Zouera Yousoufu, revealed in Lagos that the group will on Monday launch a document on “Private Sector Engagement Strategy to Eliminate Malaria in Nigeria” in collaboration with the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) of the Federal Ministry of Health.
Titled: “Engaging the Private Sector to Eliminate Malaria in Nigeria”, Yousoufu said the doc­ument was a product of months of planning, surveys and delibera­tions with key private sector lead­ers and other critical stakeholders.
The document, she explained, 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 percent 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 per cent of out-patient hospital vis­its and 30 per cent of hospital ad­missions. An estimated $1.1 bil­lion (N480 billion) 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, 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,” she said.
Despite so many gains in ma­laria prevention and treatment in Nigeria, the widespread preva­lence of counterfeit, substandard medicines is said to be contribut­ing to the alarmingly high num­ber of malaria deaths and costs of health care in Nigeria.
According to the Nigerian National Malaria Strategic Plan 2014-2020, malaria is responsi­ble for 60 per cent of outpatient visits to health facilities, 30 per­cent of childhood deaths, 25 per cent of deaths in children under one year, and 11 per cent of ma­ternal deaths,” he said.
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.
On why Dangote Founda­tion is involved in the struggle to eliminate malaria from Nige­ria Yousoufu lamented that ma­laria has remained a major pub­lic health problem in the country. “It accounts for over 60 per cent outpatient visits and 30 per cent hospital admissions in Nigeria. The disease has impacted nega­tively on the economy with about N132 billion lost to the disease as cost of treatment and loss in man-hours,” she said.

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