…As Nigeria leads in global malaria cases and deaths – 2020 Report.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Diversion of Free Malaria Commodities in the Primary Health Care Centres and other public health facilities has continued to dominate discussions in various Malaria commodity-led media briefs organized by Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunization and Nutrition (ACOMIN), and other health-related forums in the northern states.
In Kaduna, the situation has grown worse, as the Global Support Funds free Malaria Commodity, which is supposed to be free for all, are reportedly being sold to malaria patients in health facilities across the State.
Speaking to journalists at the Media Brief for the State Media Meeting on the Global Fund Malaria Commodity-led Monitoring Project, being implemented by ACOMIN in Kaduna on Wednesday, the State Program Officer, Mr Ogidi Nicodemus, said prior to the coming of ACOMIN on the project, malaria commodity has been going to all the public health facilities in Kaduna State and 13 other States.
He, however, noted that “The coming of ACOMIN enlightened the community to understand that there are availability of free malaria commodity supported by global fund in their communities.
He said, “Before, the people don’t know that there are free malaria commodities. They go to some facilities and this commodity will be sold to them even though it’s free-of-charge.
“ACOMIN took it upon itself to engage the communities in our day-to-day activities and made them to know that there is free malaria commodity in their locality.
“All you need to do is visit your facilities, a test will be conducted on you and, if the results is out positively, malaria commodity will be given to you free-of-charge. So, the coming of ACOMIN has strengthened the awareness creation across board in the eight LGAs where we are working in Kaduna and other states where we are also working as well,” he said.
According to him, test kits for malaria, ACT and long-lasting insecticide treated nets, (mosquito nets), amongst other Commodity are available in PHCs.
“The Commodities are available across all government public health facilities, except few of these PHCs delisted a few months ago for not meeting up with global fund (GF) target. GF has target.
“That’s why we are also on our own continuing pushing community and facilities to meet up this target in terms of structure. The state malaria elimination program (SMEP) knows those facilities involved in selling the GF-supported fund Commodities.
“We want to see someone being used as a scapegoat or, one or two are punished; it will not stop. As civil society organization, we’ve informed the state malaria elimination program. So, it’s left for them to investigate and know those involved,” he lamented.
On whether PHC still perpetrated the act hitherto, the State Program Officer said “That’s why ACOMIN is still in the state remaining and pushing to ensure the right things are done in punishing the erring people, and the whole thing will stop.”
The program officer’s position was collaborated by representatives of other partners, including Malaria Consortium Global Fund, who attended the ACOMIN media brief.
Earlier in his brief, Mr Ogidi Nicodemus stated that, malaria still remained the major public health challenge in Nigeria, adding that going by the 2020 World Malaria Reports, Nigeria has the highest number of global malaria cases and accounted for the highest number of deaths.
He said as part of national efforts to address the challenges of Malaria in Nigeria, ACOMIN has been reengaged by Catholic Relief Service, CRS, under the ongoing GF Malaria Grant to continue implementing the civil society component, having successfully done it, from 2019 to 2020.
Mr Nicodemus said the grant is presently being implemented in 13 GF-supported states of Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Osun and others, while in Kaduna the selected LGAs include Kaduna South, Giwa, Sabon Gari, Ikara, Kudan, Jema’a, Kaura and Jaba, respectively.
Manpower, poor equipment and lack of state budget line for local government malaria fighting and elimination also topped the discussions during the forum held at Access Hotel Annex Kaduna South.