Abuja, 8th December 2011: There are over 100 million malaria cases annually in Nigeria and the disease is responsible for the deaths of nearly 300,000 children under five, as well as 11 percent of overall maternal mortality. It was with great pleasure, therefore, that Malaria Consortium took part in the official launch of a new multimillion dollar cross-cutting malaria control programme in Abuja this week – the Malaria Action Program for States (MAPS).
The MAPS project, funded by USAID through the President’s Malaria Initiative, is designed to support state level management, prevention, treatment of malaria, as well as demand creation for commodities and services. The programme provides a unique opportunity to extend reach from federal down to community level and spans all the processes and systems involved. The project is managed by a consortium of partners led by FHI 360, Malaria Consortium and Health Partners International. “We are looking forward to the new reach we will achieve through the MAPS project” says Acting Malaria Consortium Nigeria Country Director, Dr Kolawole Maxwell. “With the strength of our partnerships, our local knowledge and technical expertise we can strive to achieve the ambitious goals we have set.”
All project partners were present at the launch, which included VIPs from a number of states, federal level dignitaries and representatives from the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) who came to show their support and commitment to this five year, US$82 million project. The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Terence McCulley, spoke at the launch and highlighted the determination to reduce malaria associated mortality by half across the country.
Sunil Mehra, Malaria Consortium Executive Director, gave a final vote of thanks at the event. “A malaria free Nigeria is longer a dream,” he said “It will become a reality.”
Malaria Consortium is managing the prevention and treatment project outputs through supporting the routine and campaign distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs) and the provision of Intermittent Preventive Treatment for pregnant women (IPTp). MAPS is also piloting school based interventions in Cross River state. In addition, Malaria Consortium is working on supporting parasitological diagnosis and accurate treatment for malaria.
The project is working at state and federal level to strengthen the health management information systems and build capacity for malaria management. The MAPS Chief of Party, Dr. Abba Zakari Umar, informed the attendees that in Zamfara state 800,000 health workers have been trained with an additional 1.4 million in Nassarawa.
The launch emphasised the commitment of all the partners and stakeholders to supporting Nigeria in meeting its targets for malaria control. Through multi-programmed and multi-partner approaches, incorporating scientific evidence and in-depth technical expertise, a truly sustainable operation can be put into place which will reduce the length of the long journey ahead towards a malaria-free Nigeria.