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NEWS RELEASE: An historic health campaign in Nigeria millions of bed nets distributed to prevent malaria deaths

19 June 2009

Over 60 million long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are being distributed to every household in Nigeria, protecting millions of lives from malaria. This comprehensive nationwide effort represents an unprecedented opportunity to address one of Nigeria’s biggest health problems.

Nigeria, given its population and level of malaria burden, is a keystone country in the global effort to reduce the number of annual deaths caused by malaria.  With a population of 148 million, Nigeria contributes a quarter of the malaria burden in Africa – 50% of the population will have at least one malaria attack a year, and 300,000 children will die from malaria each year.

Critical funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) resulted in the establishment of the Support to National Malaria Programme (SuNMaP). In 2008, DFID launched the £50 million SuNMaP programme, led by Malaria Consortium, to help strengthen the delivery of Nigeria’s malaria control efforts over five years. SuNMaP is implemented within the framework of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), and complements funds from the World Bank, the United States Government, UN agencies and others. Together, these programs aim to achieve universal net coverage in Nigeria by 2010, a key target in the Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP) and a vital component of global efforts to tackle malaria.

International Development Minister Mike Foster said "the Malaria campaign in Kano is a brilliant example of people working together to reduce the human death toll of Malaria and raise awareness of this entirely preventable disease. The simple fact is that bednets save lives. Last year we made a commitment to distribute 20 million bednets worldwide by 2010 and our funding to the Global Fund will support 74 million malaria treatments."

"The UK is playing an active role helping Nigeria’s efforts against Malaria by providing £56m funding (£50 million for SuNMap plus an additional £6m for malaria via other mechanisms), to support prevention, treatment and other services including 6 million UK funded bednets, which will protect families across Nigeria for years to come and continue our fight against this deadly disease."

With support from SuNMaP, World Bank, USAID, UNICEF and other partners, over a period of two weeks, households were registered and over two million nets were distributed to households across Kano, one of Nigeria’s 37 states. The malaria campaign messages reached communities by radio, town announcers, household mobilisers, community meetings and gatherings. As a result, community members turned out en masse to return their net cards received during registration and collect their free nets.

The experience gained during the first wave of the Kano campaigns provided the team with a rare opportunity to document best practices, identify and plan to overcome challenges to improve future campaign roll outs. These included issues such as crowd control, which the campaign partnership led by the State rapidly addressed.

Following the successful pilot launch, the Nigerian bed net campaign is set to roll-out.  A full campaign process lasts 5 weeks from training, to mobilization, distribution, follow-up and end of process monitoring; it will start in Anambra the week of 22 June 2009 with net distribution taking place between the 16-12 July and two to three weeks later in Kano to cover the rest of the State. Between the two states, 3.7 million nets will be distributed. The remaining 35 states in Nigeria will be covered by other partners during a series of intensive campaign waves lasting until December 2010, while SuNMaP will continue contributing technical support over the next 18 months to ensure that this ambitious plan is smoothly implemented.

At the National debriefing held in Abuja on the 2 June, Dr Sofola, the National Coordinator of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), thanked all partners for their support towards the implementation of the Kano campaigns. She thanked SuNMaP in particular “for extensive work done in collaborating with the NMCP for the campaigns.”

About SuNMaP
The SuNMaP programme is a £50 million DFID funded programme that commenced in April 2008 and will run for five years. The programme is being undertaken in 6 Nigerian states, beginning with Anambra, Kano and Lagos. SuNMaP works with the National Malaria Control Programme to harmonise donor efforts and funding agencies around agreed national policies and plans for malaria control. As part of a larger $1 billion initiative, SuNMaP will facilitate crucial coordination and provide the necessary technical expertise and experience for a comprehensive fight against malaria. The programme’s approach is focused on improving the capacity of the Nigerian Government to lead the fight against malaria, strengthening public-private partnerships, and reaching the poor and vulnerable with interventions such as LLINs.

The programme relies on a strong and inclusive mix of partners supporting the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) in Nigeria, including Malaria Consortium, Health Partners International (HPI), GRID Consulting, Johns Hopkins University Center for Communications Program (JHUCCP), Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON), Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria, Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CHAN), CHAN-MediPharm, Universities of London and Enugu and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group.

About Malaria Consortium
Malaria Consortium, the world’s leading not-for-profit organisation dedicated to both the prevention and treatment of malaria, manages SuNMaP. Sunil Mehra, Malaria Consortium Executive Director said "comprehensive malaria control works.  SuNMaP is a crucial component of Nigerian Government led efforts to mobilize all available resources to reduce malaria deaths. SuNMaP is a new generation approach to supporting the public and local commercial sectors for longer term sustainability, and ultimately preventing needless deaths and suffering."

About the UK Department for International Development (DFID)
The Department for International Development (DFID) is the part of the UK government that manages Britain's aid to poor countries and works to get rid of extreme poverty.
DFID operates in 150 countries and has 2,600 staff, half of whom work abroad.  It works with governments of developing countries, charities, businesses and international bodies, including the World Bank, the UN agencies and the European Commission. All our partners share our ambition to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
In 2007/08 DFID spent £5.3 billion on aid to poorer countries and the budget will increase to £7.9 billion by 2010/11, rising by an average of 11% a year at today’s prices.  Going forward to 2013, the government has pledged to increase our aid to the equivalent of 0.7% of the UK’s gross national income, from 0.36% in 2007/08.

For Further Information

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