Stakeholders in Ebonyi State have canvassed more funding, especially from the private sector, to fight malaria in Nigeria, saying 97 per cent of its population was at risk of the scourge.
They stated this at a three-day workshop in Abakaliki to identify advocacy issues that would improve domestic resource mobilisation for malaria programmes in the state.
The event, organised by the Nigerian Interfaith Action Association (NIFAA) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), had health experts, media practitioners and religious leaders in attendance.
State Malaria Elimination Programme Manager, Ebonyi State Ministry of Health, Lawrence Nwankwo, said 97 percent of its population was at risk and accounted for 32 percent of global estimate of 655,0000 malaria deaths annually, adding that more funding was required from the private sector to effectively check malaria.
He explained that on the malaria burden, the ministry planned to meet stakeholders to identify the issues with malaria programme with regard to funding and support through the workshop.
“It shows that the malaria burden is still high and government and partners have been making efforts in that regard and we are seeing progressive reduction compared to what we have been recording in the past years, but it still remains a public health challenge.
“And in this period of coronavirus pandemic, sometimes most people are reluctant to visit the hospital because of high suspicion that any illness could be linked to coronavirus.
“But they should also know that it is better to go to hospital where experts can manage their health issues much easier than staying at home and spreading whatever diseases they have to other people. That is the advice we are giving to people, because COVID-19 is with us, but it will go away one day,” he said.
He stressed that the state ministry of health would not fold its hands and watch the situation worsen, because even amid COVID-19, malaria was still killing people.
Speaking, Advocacy Manager of NIFAA, Ifeanyi Kalu, said the group would lead advocacy to encourage stakeholders to do more in funding malaria activities.