FG Plans To Borrow N82 Billion To Buy Mosquito Nets

The Ministry of Health has submitted a 2022 budget proposal to the Senate to borrow N82 billion ($200 million) to buy mosquito nets.

The proposal is captured in the ministry’s Malaria Programme, according to its Permanent Secretary, Mahmuda Mamman, who defended it before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.

The official said the fund would be used to medically fight malaria in 13 states.

The coverage is expected to spread across 3,536 primary health care centres in 208 local government councils.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, further clarified to the committee that the loan covers the importation and local production of mosquito nets.

The Senate Committee expressed strong reservations about the proposal, dismissing it as another money-making scheme that will only benefit creditors.

“Don’t we have local manufacturers of mosquitoes nets and malaria drugs in Nigeria to patronise with the loan?” Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe queried the officials.

Nigeria recorded the highest number of malaria cases (27%), and highest number of malaria deaths (23%) in the world in 2019, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report.

The WHO recently recommended the widespread use of the RTS, S/AS01 (RTS.S) malaria vaccine to specifically fight high P. falciparum malaria transmission.

The P. falciparum is the most deadly malaria parasite globally, and most prevalent in Africa where it kills more than 260,000 children under the age of five annually, with Nigeria one of the worst affected.

WHO’s recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children, with more than 2.3 million doses administered, since 2019.

RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine is to be provided in a schedule of four doses in children from five months of age for the reduction of malaria disease and burden.