On the 30th of May 2017, the Honorable Minister of State for Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire chaired a high-level stakeholder meeting in Abuja, Nigeria. Convened by the National Malaria Elimination Programme, in collaboration with Malaria Consortium, the meeting served as a forum to catalyse a groundswell of interest and commitment towards full scale-up of SMC to all nine eligible states and local government areas (LGAs) in northern Nigeria.
“This [SMC] intervention has led to reduction in malaria morbidity by over 50 percent in children under five years of age within the areas of implementation,” said Dr. Osagie Ehanire. “I appreciate the support provided by Malaria Consortium, amongst other partners, who have provided support to states, local governments, and communities on the intervention. We are also grateful to Malaria Consortium for helping to put together this very important meeting.”
Leaders in the health sector from the nine states, members of the donor community, and representatives of major Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partner organizations in Nigeria attended and discussed government and partner plans to scale up SMC to reach more children. Currently, there are over nine million children in Nigeria who will miss out on receiving SMC due to lack of funds.
With more funds, and an increase in the production of quality assured medicines used in SMC (SP and AQ), all eligible children in Nigeria will benefit from this life saving treatment. Dr. Obi Adigwe, Executive Secretary from the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG/MAN), voiced that the company is interested in producing SP+AQ locally. “Already SP and AQ are being produced locally. It’s not rocket science to put the two medicines together as SMC-specific packs. We are asking National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to develop the protocol for local production of SP+AQ, and PMG/MAN will produce the medicine according to specifications.”
The ACCESS-SMC project is in its third and final year of distributing SMC drugs in the states of Sokoto and Zamfara in Nigeria. This July, the project will begin administering SMC to nearly 1.8 million children in an effort to maintain a therapeutic concentration of the medicine during peak transmission season, thereby preventing infection and reducing malaria mortality.