Why elimination of malaria in Nigeria is delayed – Unizik Parasitologist
By Ovat Abeng
Professor Dennis Nnanna Aribodor has explained why elimination of malaria is delayed in Nigeria.
He said lack of political will to confront the malaria problem, strong leadership by government in Nigeria to own the malaria fight, inadequate funding and over-dependence on foreign partners, terrorism, insurgency, banditry, conflicts and internally displaced persons are considered the greatest challenges towards achieving malaria elimination in the country.
Aribodor, a Professor of Public Health Parasitology, Department of Parasitology and Entomology, Faculty of Biosciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, stated this when he deliver a lecture tittled: “Malaria Story And Challenges To Malaria Elimination In Nigeria” at the University 78th Inaugural Lecture, held at the Unizik-ASUU Multipurpose complex, on Thursday.
According to him, malaria is transmitted throughout Nigeria with 97 percent of the population at risk. The duration of the transmission season ranges from all year round in the south and three months or less in the north and that Nigeria has all it takes to eliminate the killer disease.
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“When some of us promote and champion the cause for malaria elimination, some people even including the educated elite think that we are pursuing shadow. They don’t only question but doubt the possibility of malaria elimination, not to talk of its eradication. Ladies and gentlemen, malaria elimination is achievable in Nigeria and may come sooner than expected, if we all go to work.”
To help sustain the struggle, Prof. Aribodor said, “I founded and registered a non-governmental (NGO), called Malaria Eradication and Safe Health Initiative (MESHI) of Nigeria. Through the NGO and in affiliation with some National and International Civil Society Networks, we engage stakeholders to ensure that malaria is effectively battle. Presently in Anambra State, our NGO together with other organisations, we are implementing the Global Fund COVID-19 Response Mechanism Resilient and Sustainable System for Health (GF C19 RM RSSH) project in five local government areas of the state, all in a bid to reduce the burden of malaria, strengthen communities, ensure demand creation for malaria and other health services especially at the Primary Healthcare facilities.”
He called on all Nigerians irrespective of political affiliation, religion, tribe and ethnic placement to join hands in the fight against the threat of the disease in the country.
The event was highly attended by the University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, represented by his Deputy (Academic), Prof. Fredrick John Odibo, ASUU National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Afam Obidike, Executive Secretary Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Pharmacist Chisom Uchem, House of Representative member-elect for Awka North/South Federal Constituency under Labour Party, Prof. Lilan Orogbu, Unizik-ASUU Chairman, Dr. Stephen Ufoaroh and members of the University community.