Subsidy on Malaria? Give us more – Oliver Twist

Malaria is no longer news…. more than half of the world’s population are swayed by this ‘menace’. 90% in Africa … killing more Nigerians than in any other country of the world.  ‘We no dey carry last’.

Malaria kills more people than HIV/AIDS in our dear giant of Africa. No doubt, people are really aware of the dangers and complications that come from malaria but action upon this knowledge is very limited.

Presently Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) has become the standard first-line treatment of uncomplicated malaria but we still have over 70% of our people receiving ONLY choloroquinne and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (Fansidar etc).

Most hospitals don’t have them, and when you see them, they are quite expensive… between N1000 and N1800.

Not to even talk about the fakes.

In November 2010, the ministry of health launched the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria (AMFm). This initiative is directed at making these drugs available and affordable to those that need them most. In simple terms, it means the government will provide SUBSIDY on the cost of ACTs so that the ordinary Nigerian can afford to buy them….just like chloroquinne.

This initiative has ‘done well’ to some extent but more is needed – Oliver Twist.

I know most health centres have subsidized ACTs (Coartem) for children – between N500 and N800.

Most people still can’t afford this. . . They opt for half doses or even fake ACTs and herbs which come cheap.

If care is not taken, we will repeat history. We will have mosquito parasites that are resistant to ACTs. This is what happened to Chloroquinne. It is already happening in Asia http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43407&Cr=Malaria&Cr1=

The solution for those of us in Africa, particularly Nigeria, is for programs such as AMFm to be accelerated.  ‘We must act with urgency and determination to keep this tremendous progress from slipping out of our grasp’ – Dr Margeret Chan http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43788&Cr=malaria&Cr1=#.UOQhHm9NW3K

So I believe the best New Year gift the present government can give to Nigerians is to INCREASE THE SUBSIDY on Malaria drugs.

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