Varsity Don decries delay in malaria elimination in Nigeria

Dennis Aribodor, a professor, of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka has decried the delay in the elimination of malaria in Nigeria.

Aribodor in a lecture tittled: ‘Malaria Story and Challenges to Malaria Elimination In Nigeria’ at the UNIZIK’s 78th Inaugural Lecture on Friday, attributed the delay to include lack of political will to confront the malaria problem.

Others are the strong leadership by government to fight malaria, inadequate funding and over-dependence on foreign partners, terrorism, insurgency, banditry, conflicts and internally displaced persons considered the greatest challenges towards achieving malaria elimination.

Aribodor, a professor of Public Health Parasitology, Department of Parasitology and Entomology of the University, said malaria is transmitted throughout Nigeria with 97 percent of the population at risk.

According to him, the duration of the transmission season ranges from all year round in the south and three months or less in the north and that Nigeria has all it takes to eliminate the killer disease.

“When some of us promote and champion the cause for malaria elimination, some people even including the educated elite think that we are pursuing shadow.

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“They don’t only question but doubt the possibility of malaria elimination, not to talk of its eradication. Malaria elimination is achievable in Nigeria and may come sooner than expected, if we all go to work,” he said.

To help sustain the struggle, Aribodor said: “I founded and registered a non-governmental (NGO), called Malaria Eradication and Safe Health Initiative (MESHI) of Nigeria.

“Through the NGO and in affiliation with some National and International Civil Society Networks, we engage stakeholders to ensure that malaria is effectively battle.

“Presently, in Anambra State, our NGO together with others are implementing the Global Fund COVID-19 Response Mechanism Resilient and Sustainable System for Health (GF C19 RM RSSH) project in five local government areas of the state.

“All in a bid to reduce the burden of malaria, strengthen communities, ensure demand creation for malaria and other health services especially at the Primary Healthcare facilities.”

He urged Nigerians irrespective of political affiliation, religion, tribe and ethnic placement to join hands in the fight against the threat of the disease in the country.

The event was attended by the University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, represented by his Deputy (Academic), Prof. Fredrick John Odibo, ASUU National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke and Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Afam Obidike.

Others are the Executive Secretary Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Mr Chisom Uchem, House of Representative member-elect for Awka North/South Federal Constituency, Prof. Lilan Orogbu, Unizik-ASUU Chairman, Dr. Stephen Ofoaroh and members of the University community.