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World Malaria Day 2023: Akwa Ibom launches domestic resources mobilisation

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Akwa Ibom State government under its Malaria Elimination Programme (MEP) has launched a domestic resource mobilisation project ahead of this year’s World Malaria Day commemoration to raise awareness and ensure “vital funding’’ against the scourge of the deadly disease.

The launch, which was carried out in conjunction with the United States President Malaria Initiatives for States along other partners including Nigeria Interfaith Action Association seeks to address the funding gaps in malaria programmes as well as address the threat posed by the disease which constitutes about 25 percent of the country’s health burden.

Attended by stakeholders and partners the meeting obtained pledges from various groups including the Rotary international and the Lion’s club which promised to support programmes and activities aimed at delivering zero malaria in the state.

In his remarks, John Orok, the programme manager, Akwa Ibom State malaria elimination programme noted that despite various activities carried to eliminate malaria which included the recent mass campaign for the distribution Insecticide Treated Nets as well as sensitisation campaigns, he noted that there were still funding gaps for malaria treatment for pregnant mothers.

“We have been a beneficiary of support of malaria programmes, from the World Bank, the global fund, World Health Organisation. There has also been continuous support from the federal, state and local governments. Despite the net campaign carried out last year, lots of activities to get malaria eliminated and security challenges in the country and the COVID-19 epidemic, there is a gap to fill to prevent malaria which is a disease that can be prevented,’’ he said.

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He stressed that government and partners need the collaboration of the private sector, philanthropic individuals and the faith based community in combating the menace of malaria to ensure that malaria is reduced to a non health issue.

Other partners including the President’s Malaria Initiative for States (PMI-S) in goodwill message observed that donations, time, money, materials and commodities as well as experience, skills and talents would be needed to tackle the scourge of malaria in the society.

Speaking also, Bassey Nsa, coordinator of Breakthrough Action in Akwa Ibom state, said there was need to focus on raising awareness and for resource mobilisation towards the elimination of malaria adding that there was also the urgent need for skills update on malaria.

A presentation by the state malaria elimination programme of the 2021 malaria indicator survey showed that 39 percent of households in the south-south region of the country own at least one insecticide treated net per household while 41 percent of households in Akwa Ibom State own at least one insecticide treated net.

It also showed that 29 percent of households in the south-south region have access to insecticide treated nets while in Akwa Ibom State, 28 percent of households have access to insecticide treated nets while only 24 percent of children in the south-south region use the nets as against only 20 percent of the children under 5 years in Akwa Ibom State sleep inside the nets.

The theme of this year’s commemoration is ‘Time to deliver zero malaria: Invent, innovate and implement,’ with the slogan “Act Now.”