The Federal Government on Monday launched the malaria modelling programme to achieve zero malaria prevalence in 2025.
Speaking during the launch of the first cohort of malaria modelling fellows in Abuja, the National Coordinator of the National Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr Perpetua Uhomoibhi said the malaria modelling initiative involves the use of data in different contexts to make decisions on malaria programme and elimination.
Dr Uhomoibhi said though the prevalence of malaria in the country is at 22 per cent, there are improvements in care-seeking behaviour among the populace.
“When we talk about malaria modelling, we are talking about using data and putting them into different contexts to make decisions. When you look at malaria transmission, there are different factors that interface, you have epidemiological factors, etymological factors, the behaviour of the vector, social-economic factors, and urbanisation.
“When we use models, we do analysis based on the available data to know where the highest burden is and the factors responsible for that. When you put these things together, that will help to understand the disease transmission and how to better tailor interventions that fit into each particular context.
“We will use different models for different states based on the context so we meet our targets of ensuring zero malaria in Nigeria,” she said.
The National Coordinator reiterated the determination of the federal government to end malaria by the year 2025 with data necessary for tracking and preventing the disease.
Also, the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Chinwe Ochu said the malaria modelling fellowship will help to train experts using data to guide targeted interventions in places and areas of highest need.
Dr Ochu said “There is a target to bring down the prevalence of malaria in Nigeria to a pre-elimination phase. Nigeria contributes one of the highest burdens of malaria in the globe, and there is a plan for eradication of malaria globally, and to achieve that, we need countries to work towards achieving this.
“We are still a high-burden country, but efforts have been put in place with different strategies to ensure that we come down from where we are currently to a state where we will be more comfortable to say we have made significant progress.
“Just as it is said, Nigeria has a goal for 2025 to bring down the prevalence.”
One of the fellows, Dr Ismail Raji, said that the malaria modelling fellowship programme was key to reducing the burden of malaria with accurate data.
The PUNCH reports that the fellowship will expose participants to a comprehensive curriculum that includes core modelling content, in-depth knowledge of malaria epidemiology, including transmission dynamics, and adjunct modules crucial to enhancing their careers and equipping them with in-demand modelling competence.
The fellowship is a collaborative effort between Corona Management Systems, the NMEP, the NCDC, and the World Health Organisation.
The programme is, however, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.