Nets for all: Nigeria leads the fight against
malaria A child dies from malaria every 30 seconds.
It is one of the world’s biggest killers. Nowhere in Africa is the burden of malaria
greater than in Nigeria. Dr Ebere Anyachukwu, Health Advisor, Department
for International Development (DFID) Nigeria probably has the most serious malaria
problem in Africa. Onno Ruhl, Country Director, The World Bank One in three of every children to die prematurely in Nigeria,
die as a consequence of malaria. Solvi Taraldsen, Health Advisor, DFID Northern
Nigeria Office Around 50% of Nigerians will have one check
at least of malaria each year. This is Dawakin Tofa a village in Kano state,
one of the most affected areas in the country. Under the Roll Back Malaria partnership, Nigeria’s
National Malaria Control programme, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)
with its SuNMaP project and other partners including the World Bank, UNICEF and USAID,
the US Agency for International Development, have come together to take a stand against
the disease. Kano has become a key battleground in the
fight against malaria. Dr Anyachukwu: This is the first time that
Nigeria is really making a concerted effort to try to address this problem. Mariam lives in Dawakin Tofa with her four
children and six grandchildren. For Mariam and her family, malaria is a constant
worry. They have no practical protection from the
mosquitoes that carry the disease and so every night they risk being bitten and infected.
Today, that is all going to change. Dr Anyachukwu: DFID has a large malaria programme
called SuNMaP, they support the national malaria programme.
Its rule is to provide bed nets for the campaign. SuNMaP and partners are supplying long lasting
insecticidal nets to be distributed to households across Nigeria.
The campaign is commencing in key affected states, including Kano, and will eventually
roll out across the whole country. Solvi: Every household will receive two nets
by the end of 2010, which means that they have 18 months to distribute 63 million nets
which has been identified as the need for Nigeria. All around Kano state the nets are being stockpiled
ready for distribution and a large event is held to mark the launch of the campaign.
As part of an unprecedented communications push, house to house health mobilisers visit
every village to ensure that everyone knows what they need to do. Ms ChiNow Amajoh, Head, Integrated Vector Management
Branch, National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) We’re going from house to house with the net cards, we are ensuring that more people
will have access to this. By the end of 2010 we’ll be sure that at
least 80% of people in every community, in every settlement is in this. Each household is given a net card which they
will exchange for two free nets at the collection points. As part of their SuNMaP training, the mobilisers must make sure that each household knows when
and where to collect their nets. Each house is marked to show that the mobilisers
have paid a visit. Dr Umar Faruk, Behavioural Change Communication
Consultant We send messages along with the house to house
mobilisers; take cover from malaria, use the net – it’s very simple. Today, Mariam is to collect the mosquito nets
that will protect her family from the deadly malaria carrying mosquitoes.
Word has got around and there is already a large queue.
Everyone is excited. These precious nets will make a huge difference to their lives.
As soon as she arrives home, Mariam hangs her nets outside for 24 hours as she has been
instructed. This is to prevent possible allergic reactions
to the insecticide and Mariam is not alone. All across Kano state, women are hanging their
nets in preparation for use. Once the 24 hours are up, the nets can safely
be used. Mariam decides to keep one and give the other
to her eldest grandaughter as a wedding gift. It means that the next generation of Mariam’s family will have the best protection right
from the start and with it the best chance of living full and healthy lives. Haj Aisha Isyaku Kiru, Hon Commissioner,
Ministry of Health Mortality rates are going to come down and
therefore people who wouldn’t want to have too many children because they feel that half
of them might die of malaria. DFID SuNMaP programme will help to make Nigeria
the first country in Africa to offer universal coverage of mosquito nets to its entire population.
It is crucial to ensure that the programme is sustainable. Onno: The challenge is not to get somebody
to sleep under a net the day after the campaign. The challenge is that they still sleep under
the net two years after the campaign. Dr Anyachukwu: We can start developing a
system by which nets are constantly being released into the communities on a routine
basis. No single organisation can do this alone.
The mosquito net programme in Nigeria is the result of a vast range of different organisations,
NGOs and faith groups coming together as a cohesive partnership to support the Nigerian
Government in taking a stand against malaria. Ms Amajoh: All of these programmes and the
implementers are working together. Onno: That everybody feels that we are doing
this together, there is a good team spirit, we all meet each other when we go to the field. Solvi: It’s not often that we combine such
a skill together. Ultimately, tackling malaria in Nigeria is
the only way to tackle it on a global scale and meet the United Nations Millennium Development
Goals. Ms Amajoh: The goals four, five and six are
direct but goal one says elimination of extreme poverty and hunger.
Malaria is a disease of poverty, it makes the poor poorer.
This is very, very encouraging. The aim now for Nigeria and SuNMaP is to roll
out the scheme beyond the border of Kano state so that the whole country will benefit.
Millions of lives will be saved. Dr Anyachukwu: It can be done.
It can be done. Other countries have done it and Nigeria is
doing it. And if it can be done in Nigeria it can be
done anywhere else. Partners working with SuNMaP in Nigeria include
Core Partners: Malaria Consortium
GRID Consulting Health Partners International Partners:
Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria Christian Health Association of Nigeria
CHAN Medi Pharm Centre for Communication Programmes Nigeria Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public
Health – Centre for Communication Programmes Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group
of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Health Policy Research Group, Nigeria
University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine