Over the past year, the United States and Nigeria together have advanced the fight against malaria, despite immense challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Committed and courageous frontline health workers, especially nurses, midwives, and community health workers, across the country went the extra mile to ensure essential malaria services were sustained.
A press statement by the U.S. Embassy, Mondsy, said their efforts of the two countries saved lives and supported community resilience.
“The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has partnered with Nigeria to fight malaria since 2011, contributing $768 million to date and $74 million in FY 2021.
“PMI’s Annual Report, released today, showcases how the strong partnership between the United States and Nigeria enabled robust and effective malaria services to continue in FY 2021, even as COVID-19 caused enormous strain on the health system.
“Through PMI funding and programs, 58 million bed nets, 130 million fast acting medicines, and 82 million malaria test kits have been delivered to clinics and communities since 2011.
“In addition, 24 million preventive treatment doses were delivered to pregnant women and 13 million doses to children during the rainy season. In the past year, more than 3,666 health workers received training that amplified their ability to detect and treat malaria, while strengthening the health system overall and providing key skills to fight COVID-19 and future pandemics,” the statement read in part.
According to the statement, USAID Mission Director Anne Patterson said, “I think what Nigeria is doing to advance more effective malaria prevention, treatment, and control is so important, especially the introduction of innovative tools to make better use of the data in real-time, and also to enhance quality of care via community-based health workers.”
The Embassy further stated that, “Assisted by PMI investments, Nigeria is progressing its fight against malaria using proven and cost-effective methods that save lives and promise a more healthy and prosperous future for families and communities.
“Acting U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Julie Wallace said, “With perseverance and strong global commitment we can end malaria in our lifetime. The United States is proud of our work with Nigeria in combating this deadly, yet entirely preventable, disease.”
The statement also disclosed that, “As part of our commitment to the reduction of the malaria burden and saving lives, the U.S Army Medical Research Directorate-Africa/Nigeria (USAMRD-A/N), also with support from the PMI, has been able to increase and strengthen the capacities of medical laboratory scientists in malaria microscopy, rapid testing, quality assurance, and laboratory supervision.
“USAMRD-A/N is also joining the State Ministries of Health in Akwa-Ibom and Benue, the National Malaria Elimination Programme, and the Nigerian Ministry of Defense in launching the National Malaria Slide Bank (NMSB) Project.
“The project will produce Nigeria’s first bank of validated, domestically developed slides for malaria microscopy training, external quality assurance, and future research purposes.”