Jigawa state sits at the heart of northern Nigeria, the region of the country most severely affected by malaria. Back in March, before the COVID-19 lockdown took hold, the first of a new kind of ‘town hall’ meeting took place in several local government areas (LGAs) – Dutse, Ringim and Kafin Hausa. The meetings provided people from these communities with a platform to share their opinions about malaria prevention and control.
Although the malaria situation in Jigawa state has improved in recent years, the meetings were attended in large numbers, with many eager to engage with the conversation and spur further progress in their communities. Local leaders, civil society members and Malaria Consortium staff were also in attendance, having been convened as part of Malaria Consortium’s Support to the National Malaria Programme 2 (SuNMaP 2). The programme funded by UK aid from the UK government, is working with partners in six states in Nigeria to strengthen the response to malaria at community, regional and national levels.
Those in attendance at meetings in all three regions raised four core issues:
- The need for increased knowledge on the use of long-lasting insecticide treated nets
- The need for increased knowledge on environmental management and it’s link to the spread of malaria
- The importance of pregnant women attending antenatal care services which includes malaria prevention
- The general need for resources for the provision of diagnosis and treatment of malaria in health facilities
In response to the concerns raised by communities, local stakeholders committed to a number of new campaigns including environmental education workshops, house-to-house awareness promoting mosquito net use and new awareness campaigns in schools.
The impact of this new forum doesn’t stop at the community level. State public dialogues — a higher level meeting including government officials, traditional and religious leaders — have also been held following the community level dialogues. Key highlights from the town hall meetings were recorded and presented at the state level and provided a constructive basis for discussions. Overall, the participation of citizens and engagement of a wide variety of stakeholders at both town hall meetings and the state public dialogue has led to concrete commitments from governing bodies both in individual LGAs and state-wide, including from the Deputy Governor of Jigawa State, the LGA Chairman of Dutse LGA, and the council of Traditional Leaders in Dutse.
When the next round of town hall meetings and state public dialogues occur, all stakeholders and citizens will feedback on the progress they’ve made towards their commitments in the shared goal of reducing malaria cases even further.
About SuNMaP 2
SuNMaP 2 is a UK aid-funded follow-up to SuNMaP that will support government efforts to further reduce Nigeria’s malaria burden. The programme is being implemented by Malaria Consortium and will integrate malaria prevention, treatment, and other interventions at the community and service delivery levels, as well as in other settings, through public and private sector partnerships. It aims to improve the planning, financing and delivery of sustainable malaria programmes across 165 local government areas in six states of Nigeria: Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, and Yobe.
Learn more about the project on our dedicated SuNMaP 2 project page.
Ashley Giles is Senior Communications Officer at Malaria Consortium
Inen Ijeoma is Social Behavioural Change Communications Specialist at Malaria Consortium