News The African Way

Nigerian Catholic Group Trains Malaria Advocates

Concerned with high cases of malaria in Nigeria, a group, Archdiocesan Catholic Healthcare Initiative (ACHI) has embarked on training citizens on advocacy skills and how to sustain enlightenment campaign on the use of mosquito nets.

Their effort is part of a global response to a disease that affects over 3 billion people worldwide, where 80 percent of all the cases are occurring in Africa – with Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo taking the lead.

According to World Health Organisation, WHO there were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria in 2012, out of which 627,000 people died – a little lower than the WHO record of 660,000 deaths in 2011.

No wonder, the WHO Director-General Margaret Chan in 2013 said.”The fact that so many people are infected and dying from mosquito bites is one of the greatest tragedies of the 21st century,”

The Catholic group has trained 190 people from ten communities in Northwest Nigeria in an effort “to reduce the presumptive diagnosis of malaria in target communities, as well as educate them on how to advocate increased resources for effective malaria prevention and treatment services,” Says Uladi Amos, the Programme Manager of ACHI in Kaduna

One hundred and fifty were trained as Community Development Committees (CDCs) and 40 as community agents. The agents will be involved in distribution of mosquito nets to households that do not have access to nets in the target communities.

Amos says distribution of nets by ACHI in partnership with NAZARENE rural health ministry, will commence as soon as government in the region flags-off its distribution of Insecticide Treated Nets in the month of March – “so, we are going to compliment in communities and households that have no access to the mosquito nets after government’s distribution,” he explained.

Chairman of the trained Community Development Committees, Awwal Mohammed, described malaria as endemic called on Nigerian government to strengthen its fight against the disease by reviving the country’s primary health care delivery system.

Mohammed says Nigerian “government should demonstrate leadership role in the fight against malaria by investing funds and not just to leave things in the hands of donors and other supporting organisations.”

WHO record shows a wide gap in the funding and resources needed for universal coverage of interventions. “An estimated US$ 5.1 billion is needed every year for this purpose. In 2012, the global total of international and domestic funding for malaria was US$ 2.5 billion – less than half of what is needed.”

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