Gov’s wife, Dr. Linda Ayade, attracts new Malaria Program to C’ River State

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Charles Ekanem|5 November 2016

Cross River State Health Sector in Partnership with United State Agency for International Development (USAID) through their President's Malaria Initiative on 2nd of November, 2016 held a Need Assessment and Planning meeting at EDP Conference Hall for their Second Phase of Cross River State Malaria Elimination Program.

Speaking the DG, CRSPHCDA, Dr Betta Edu who represented the Honorable Commissioner of Health, Dr Inyang Asibong said Malaria control interventions have evolved over the years and there had been a lot of laudable strides made in the campaign for its prevention, appropriate diagnosis and treatment in Cross River State.

“However, not all are sufficiently aware of these developments and there still exists a huge gap in knowledge about prevention of Malaria, need for diagnosis before treatment, drugs for treatment and Malaria drug counterfeiting.

“We require the PMI to support  operational researches around evidence of the efficacy of recommended malaria prevention strategies and other perceived gaps after the Need Assessment and Planning Meeting", She stated.

"I am proud that the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) continues to play a key role in the global fight against Malaria. And in Cross River State, PMI, which also supports 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, have provided communities and families with a mix of tools to fight Malaria, including long-lasting, insecticide-treated Mosquito nets, indoor insecticide spraying campaigns, rapid diagnostic test kits, the latest drug therapies to treat Malaria infections, prevention & treatment of Malaria in pregnancy, and community education campaigns. Today we are happy to have you back in the state courtesy of the enterprising move, zeal and passionate drive of our First Lady, Wife of the Governor of CRS, Dr Linda Ayade who I followed CRS to Abuja to meet with the US Country Mission Director.

"The most exciting news about Malaria is that it can be eradicated. To make this happen, we must recognize that we do not need to accept Malaria as being a normal part of life. If we sleep inside a treated net every night, if we seek treatment from a qualified health worker within 24 hours of the onset of a fever, if we eliminate Mosquitoes breeding sites, we can drive down the presence of the mosquito in our environment and ultimately eliminate the malaria parasite. Despite our impressive gains, we still have much work to do. And that is why as a state we cannot achieve all this alone without the support of United State Government through their President's Malaria Initiative,  

"As a State we will continue to improve the protection of expectant mothers and their newborns from malaria and common problems like maternal anemia, miscarriage, prematurity, stillbirth, and low birth weight in newborns. We want to assure USAID once again that they will not be alone on this as His Excellency the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade is able, ready and determined give support to USAID in their second phase Malaria Elimination Program said the DG CRSPHCDA.

Presenting the Cross River State Malaria Program, SMEP Manager, Dr Iwara Iwara said the State over the years have  increase the quality, access, and uptake of malaria control interventions  through the scale-up of proven interventions, strengthen program management and monitoring and evaluation capacity at the state and local government levels in line with the national malaria strategic plan. SMEP in collaboration with other stakeholders and partners in Cross River State have achieved significant success as over 1.7 million treated nets distributed during mass replacement campaign, Over 10,000 treated nets distributed to school children in the state, 3,617 health workers trained in various intervention areas. 560 community care givers and 565 CVs trained on community awareness and referral. They have also been an improvement in appropriate malaria treatment rates to over 90% in the state.

Earlier Speaking, Dr Jessica Kafuko, Head of USAID delegation to the state said USAID had already decided to go to other states since the had done some work in malaria in CRS for five years. She noted that the US govt reversed their decision following the visit of the wife of Governor Dr Linda Ayade and Dr Betta Edu to the mission.

She said their second coming to Cross River State was to understand the status of malaria program intervention in the state and also assess the Needs of the state Malaria Elimination Program. She pour encomium on the Government of Cross River State over their strong political will to tackle the scourged of Malaria. My special commendation goes to the Governor's Wife who has played an emphatic role on our coming back to CRS. Her malaria school intervention is profound. Also we have come to realize that Cross River State is one of the few model state with quality performance in SMEP in Nigeria.

Our Prayer to Cross River State Government is to improved planning, implementation, and monitoring of CRS Malaria Elimination program this will reduce Malaria associated morbidity and mortality in the state. We also hope that CRS will improved transparency and relationship between USAID Nigeria, PMI program and PMI funded implementing partners. Finally we called for Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CRSG and USAID NIGERIA that will guide the framework for collaboration between US and CRS Government.

Head of UNFPA Mr Ken Ehouzou and WHO representative Dr.  Babatunde in their speech promised to support integration and the new malaria program. Dr Omini gave the assurance that the min. Of health is fully involved and will support. Especially as it concerns Logistics and cold chain.

Professor Ezedinachi also stated that for health care to get into any community malaria intervention is the entry point because every community understand the language MALARIA. At the end of the meeting gaps in CRS malaria program was identified and priority areas stated.

Present at the meeting was Dr Uwem Inyang USAID Nigeria, Director Public Health SMOH , Dr Sonny Omini, Dr Eyo Nsa, Director Pharmaceutical Dept/Progam Manager EDP , Head of Malaria West Africa, Prof Ezedinachi , Head of UNFPA CRS, Dr Ken Ehouzou, Representatives of NPHCDA, WHO, UNICEF, LMCU CRS, SFH and FHI and other Stakeholders.

Charles Ekanem
Writes from Calabar