CSOs call for establishment of malaria control agency in Katsina

Miffed by the devastating effect of malaria in Katsina State, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have advocated the establishment of a malaria control agency, to eliminate the fatal disease, in the state.

The CSOs added that the establishment of malaria control agency is the only alternative that would tackle the lack of budget line for malaria activities and shortage of manpower afflicting the sector in the state.

Dr. Bashir Ruwan-Godiya made the call on behalf of the CSOs during a meeting of UK Foreign and Commonwealth Development Organisation (FCDO)-funded Support to National Malaria Programme-Phase II (SuNMaP2) held in Katsina.

SuNMaP2 is being implemented at federal and six states of Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, Kano, Lagos and Kaduna to reduce the risk of malaria resurgence and address malaria programmatic as well as technical gaps.

The former state CSOs chairman said: “Programmes and projects implemented by partners do come and go but the challenge is what are we able to do to sustain the important impacts that are made by those particular projects.

“So, I want to appeal to the state House of Assembly to pass a resolution immediately to call the attention of the state government to ensure that the agency for malaria control is established in the state.

“And the Ministry of Health should fast-tract this process and ensure that the department under the ministry taking care of malaria is converted to a full-fledged agency that would take care of malaria issues in Katsina State.”

Earlier, the state Malaria Elimination Programme (SMEP) Manager, Dr. Bashir Adamu, said the state government has earmarked N240 million in the 2021 budget for malaria elimination programmes and trained 274 healthcare providers on management of uncomplicated malaria cases.

The Leader of the project in the state, Hafsat Musa Baba, said malaria treatment in the state has improved from 25 per cent in 2019 to 45 per cent in 2020.

He explained that testing recommendations also improved across Artesunate injection (89 per cent for both years), and Artesunate dosing (59 per cent to 71 per cent for 20kg and 57 per cent to 69 per cent for 20kg weights).

She said: “Malaria testing improved from 56 per cent to 66 per cent across board. Artesunate use for severe malaria recorded an improvement of 50 per cent in 2019 to 51 per cent in 2020.

“ACT treatment for non-severe malaria admissions improved from 11 per cent in 2019 to 21 per cent in 2020. Compliance with test negative admissions: 35 per cent in 2019 to 47 per cent in 2020.”

During the meeting, a 14-member malaria sustainability committee was inaugurated by the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Health, Dr. Kabir Mustapha, to work with government in order to fund malaria elimination activities at both public and private sectors.

The committee is also expected to promote accountability for malaria commodities and funding in the public sector and ensure that government fulfills its obligation as contained in the Malaria Service Charter.

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