By Innocent Odoh |
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) mission director, Anne Patterson has joined Dr. Perpetua Uhomoibhi, coordinator of Nigeria’s National Malaria Elimination Programme to launch a $90 million new activity to control malaria, Nigeria’s leading killer of children, in rural areas of eight vulnerable states.
A statement from USAID made available to reporters yesterday said over the next five years, the $90 million President’s Malaria Initiative for States (PMI-S) will serve as the flagship activity for the global US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) in Nigeria.
The statement noted that since 2010, PMI has provided $712 million in investments, including the distribution of over 61 million insecticide treated bed nets (ITN), which are now in 43 percent of all households, twice the rate before the intervention.
“In Nigeria, members of low-income households in rural areas are seven times more likely to contract malaria than urban dwellers,” Patterson said.
She added that “because these communities also have limited access to prevention and treatment services, it is critically important to reach these populations to reduce malaria.”
In partnership with state governments, PMI-S will improve the quality of and access to malaria services, promote evidence-based decision-making, boost drug drug-based prevention and treatments, and strengthen health systems and programme management.
“The new activity builds on the success of earlier PMI-supported malaria interventions in Nigeria, which has helped the national rate of malaria infection decrease by 16 percent – even higher for children under five – since PMI began operating in Nigeria. PMI has also helped increase the likelihood a pregnant woman receives malaria prophylaxis fourfold,” the statement added.
The programme is led by USAID and implemented with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the last year, in addition to distribution of ITNs – provided 22 million doses of prophylaxis to pregnant women, 6.9 million doses to children, and 129 million treatment doses at health facilities and in communities.
The statement said further that another 62 million rapid tests helped health workers properly diagnose and treat patients for malaria and other fevers. PMI-S is implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH).