AFRICA. Nigeria: Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s President has launched the End Malaria Council (EMC) picking a renowned business mogul, Aliko Dangote as its leader. EMC, Transcontinental Times learnt, was aimed at ending malaria disease in the country by 2030.
While Africa is struggling to end malaria, it accounts for the vast majority of deaths from the disease, with nearly a third of victims in Nigeria.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria alone accounts for about 27% of all malaria cases and 32% of malaria deaths globally.
During the launch yesterday, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, Buhari inaugurated a 16-member committee charged with the task of ending malaria in the next eight years.
His words, “Our inauguration today will ensure that malaria elimination remains a priority on our agenda with strong political commitment from leaders at all levels. The successful implementation of the council’s agenda will result in improvement in the quality of life.”
In 2018, the African Union Assembly targeted 2030 to eliminate malaria. This, however, influenced the idea of setting up country-led councils.
But Lynda Ozor, WHO Malaria Program Chief, says inadequate funding and lack of innovation are chief factors hindering progress.
Speaking to Voice of Africa on Tuesday, Ozor said, “For me, it represents the highest political commitment to end malaria. The political commitment which we saw yesterday translates to a recommitment to accelerate actions towards ending the disease.“
“Malaria is not just a disease but a socioeconomic problem. We hope that very shortly we should be geared towards our elimination goal,” he added.
Eliminating malaria, according to Wellington Oyibo, a parasitologist at the University of Lagos requires a diversified strategy.
“With the approval of the vaccine last year, every other control measure – vector control, the use of efficacious medicines, the use of diagnostics to confirm fever before treatment, even going further to the reengineering of the environment will be needed. It’s going to be all tools together,” Oyibo told Nigeria-based Channels Television.