•CAMA calls for more funding
Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has called on organized private sector to join the fight in combating malaria in Nigeria stating that the sector plays an integral role in eliminating the terrible disease.
Indeed, companies have been successful in shaping malaria policies; impacting communities through workplace initiatives, product and service innovations, advocacy, research and investment.
The Minister gave this charge yesterday in Lagos at a forum organized by Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA) as part of activities to mark the world malaria day.
He highlighted four key areas where the private sector can be influential to include innovation, policy, implementation and financing.
According to him the coming year would be a period of great opportunity for businesses to contribute to rapid acceleration of rate of progress in the global war against malaria. Success will require transparency from all partners, concerted efforts to address system challenges and a continued effort in eliminating the scourge.
The federal government is working on primary healthcare system to build up the national healthcare system and part of it is based on the national health act and the basic healthcare provision fund, which is to facilitate setting up healthcare down to the grassroots.
Speaking on incentives of private sector involvement in funding malaria, he said: we promised them that we are going to make use of their expertise, efficiency, management skills and their experience on distribution and giving them full partnership in the management of all programmes private sector is working with government.
With the theme, ‘Accelerating investment to bring malaria to zero’, CAMA sought for more private sector involvement to ensure in eradicating the disease in Africa.
Head, Sustainability, Access Bank Plc, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, said substantial malaria control investments have been made in Nigeria within the last decade. However, despite gains achieved, there remain considerable challenges in addressing the burden of disease and key performance indices are still below expectations.
She said accelerating investment in malaria in Nigeria and Africa will prevent more than 80 million illnesses and more than 300,000 related deaths annually. According to her ending malaria will increase school attendance, boost worker productivity and significantly lower out-of-pocket cost for treatment. This is why malaria prevention and control remain a collective energy of the private sector and commitment of the global malaria community in uniting the common goal of a world free of malaria.
President, GBC Health, Nancy Wildfeir-Field, said funding for malaria globally is only at 41 per cent of its 2020 target of $6.5 billion yet almost half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria. The disease remains a major public health challenge, especially in Africa, which bears nearly 90 per cent of the global share of malaria cases and accounts for 91 per cent of malaria death.
She said Nigeria accounts for the highest number of cases and deaths from malaria in sub-saharan Africa. The economy loses $1.1 billion each year due to malaria-related absenteeism in the workplace and treatment costs.
Wildfeir-Field said there is strong rationale for the private sector to play a role in shaping health markets in Africa and in particular in malaria with direct impact on the workforce, stating that investment is vital.
Chief Executive Officer, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, said the foundation is leveraging its significant resources in the fight against malaria by bringing private sector stakeholders together to better align with and complement government’s effort to achieve its malaria pre-elimination goals by 2020 as outlined in the National Malaria Strategic Plan.
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