Nigeria launches Africa’s first malaria and lymphatic filariasis elimination co-implementation plan

Anopheles gambiae

The Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health launched an elimination co-implementation plan for malaria and lymphatic filariasis. This combined nationwide strategy is the first of its kind in Africa.

25 February 2014

The Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health is distributing new national guidelines for co-implementation of interventions to eliminate malaria and lymphatic filariasis. This combined nationwide strategy is the first of its kind in Africa and will allow the Federal and State Ministries of Health to efficiently protect all Nigerians from the two mosquito transmitted parasitic diseases.

Though these diseases are preventable and treatable, they still constitute major public health problems in the country and a barrier to social and economic development. The Federal Ministry of Health set up a committee to develop a framework for co-implementation of malaria and lymphatic filariasis so that both diseases and their effects are controlled and eliminated, using synergistic tools. The newly released guidelines will harness available resources in a cost-effective manner by taking advantage of the mosquito vector shared by malaria and lymphatic filariasis. Both diseases are spread by the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes.

Integrated distribution of long-lasting insecticidal bed nets and mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis is predicted to reduce the incidence of both diseases more quickly and more economically than providing each intervention individually. Additionally, integrating supervision, monitoring and evaluation of the co-implementation efforts will strengthen these already successful programmes. Finally, the two elimination programmes will be able to combine health communication and social mobilization messages to increase reach and impact.

Nigeria’s groundbreaking co-implementation guidelines were developed by a committee spearheaded by Oladele Akogun, a Professor of Parasitology in the Federal University of Technology Yola, with the support of a strong coalition of partners led by The Carter Center and the Malaria Consortium. Other key partners include: the U.S. Agency for International Development, RTI/ENVISION, the UK Department for International Development, The Malaria Action Program for States, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Sightsavers International, Christian Blind Mission, Helen Keller International, Mission to Save the Helpless, and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Read more about the elimination of lymphatic filariasis.