The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that measures have been put in place to reduce the proliferation of anti-malaria drugs in the country.
To deal with the health challenges associated with malaria, the government would need over $700m to fight the menace between now and 2016.
The Coordinator of National Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe, stated this in an exclusive interview with THE PUNCH on the sidelines of an interactive session with journalists on private sector co-payment mechanism for improving access to malaria medicine.
She said, “We already have a GAP analysis of the amount of money we need to address the issue of malaria between now and 2016. It is over $700m.
“The only drug we recognise is ACT, Artemisinin Combination Therapy. We are saying that Chloroquine is not recommended for the treatment of malaria.
“Oral Artemisinin in any form is not recommended for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria. The only medicine that is recommended is ACT. One of the steps we are taking to prevent proliferation of anti-malaria drugs is through the media. Let the media tell them where we stand. Tell them that they should take ACT for uncomplicated malaria.”
Speaking on the best drug for pregnant women having malaria, she said the NMEP has developed a package for pregnant women.
She said, “We have a strategy for malaria in pregnancy. We are advocating that every pregnant woman must register early for ante-natal care.
“From each visit when the pregnancy is 16 weeks upwards, every pregnant woman should ask for IPTC, which means Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy.
“When every pregnant woman is able to access this throughout the pregnancy, she should be free of malaria. If a pregnant women come down with malaria, that person will be treated like any other person.”
Experts at the programme including the Malaria Programme Director, Society for Family Health, Dr. Ernest Nwokolo, called on the public to always insist on N150 for audit dose of 24 tablets ACT.
Nwokolo said, “State governments are encouraged to key into the ACT co-payment mechanism for their respective states. The Global Fund Task Force is available to offer technical assistance on setting up this Private Public Partnership at the state level.
“Philanthropists and companies are encouraged to key into the private sector co-payment funding system in order to help their states or populations of interest.”