NEWS RELEASE: UK Drive to rid Nigeria of Malaria31 August 2009
A new UK-backed campaign, managed by Malaria Consortium, to rid Nigeria of malaria and distribute over 63 million lifesaving bednets launched its second phase in the north of the country today.
Malaria is a wholly preventable disease and sleeping under a bednet is a simple and effective way of avoiding infection. With support from several donors, including £50 million in UKaid, two insecticide treated bed nets will be distributed to every Nigerian household by December 2010, reaching over 30 million homes and saving thousands of lives.
The malaria crisis in Nigeria is severe. Nigeria accounts for over a quarter of all cases of malaria in Africa and it is having a damaging impact on the country’s economy. It is estimated that the inability of people to work due to malaria illness costs Nigeria at least one billion dollars each year.
Nigeria has recently started a significant effort to combat malaria backed by the UK Department for International Development, USAID, The World Bank, The Global Fund and UNITAID/ UNICEF. The initial phase of the Kano campaign in May distributed 2.1 million long lasting insecticidal nets. This second phase will involve the distribution of a further 2 million nets to 1 million households.
The Department for International Development is providing £50m to the Support to National Malaria Programme (SuNMaP) project, which is helping to coordinate and deliver the Nigerian bednet distribution effort; as well as providing 6 million nets. UK-based Malaria Consortium, the world’s leading not-for-profit organisation dedicated to both the prevention and treatment of malaria, manages SuNMaP.
Malaria Consortium Executive director, Sunil Mehra, said:
"Malaria is the leading cause of death for children in Africa. It is shameful that people, and especially children, are still suffering and dying from this disease.
SuNMaP is a crucial component of the Nigerian Government’s efforts to cut malaria deaths in the country. This initiative will provide support all the way down to the household level to help beat this disease and reduce the appalling impact malaria has had on families and their livelihoods."
The campaign involves:
- 331 lorries transporting nets to 1500 distribution points across Kano;
- Training 9,500 volunteers to visit an estimated 2 million households to tell them about the campaign and how they can claim their bednet;
- Town criers announcing the delivery of the nets to their village;
- Community leaders educating people of the importance of hanging the nets every day;
- Radio broadcasts promoting the benefits of the nets; and
- Drama groups performing sketches outlining the dangers of malaria and demonstrating how to hang the nets.
International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, said:
“It is shocking that half of all Nigerians will become infected with malaria each year. Over 30% of childhood deaths and 11% of maternal deaths in Nigeria are caused by malaria – but what is worse is that these are preventable deaths.
“All too often families can’t afford the bednets that could save their lives. That is why the UK is proud to support this campaign to ensure that every Nigerian family can sleep under the protection of a bednet.”
Malaria Consortium is the worldâ€Ÿs leading not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the control of malaria and applies its depth of technical expertise and practical experience to develop smarter solutions that improve and save lives. Through innovation, Malaria Consortium increases the impact of malaria and disease control programmes so that they benefit all communities, including delivery in the most challenging environments. Malaria Consortium has pioneered best practices and approaches, setting the standards that others now follow. Malaria Consortium is headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with over 90% of its staff based in malaria-endemic countries supporting Ministries of Health and partners in over twenty countries.
For more information, please visit http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Media-Room/News-Stories/2009/UK-drive-to-rid-Nigeria-of-malaria/
For further information please contact the Diana Thomas, Malaria Consortium Media and Communications Manager on [email protected]
or 020 7549 0210