U.S President’s Malaria Initiative
Malaria is endemic to Africa and is one of the top killer diseases in Nigeria. Over the years, PEPFAR Nigeria has been committed to fighting HIV/AIDS and has also contributed funds towards malaria treatment resulting from opportunistic Infections.
In 2012, the Program through an inter-agency agreement reached out to PMI for assistance. Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) is the governing body concerned with the treatment and elimination of malaria. According to Ambassador Ziemer, the PMI Coordinator, “Nigeria was not initially a primary focus but now, due to its large population and disease, it has become one.”
The NMOD/USDOD Program through PMI funding is building capacity for proper malaria diagnosis. The Program has three malaria training centers which cater for up to 24 participants per training:
- 445 Nigerian Air Force Laboratory Ikeja, Lagos
- Defense Reference Laboratory Abuja
- 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Clinical Training Centre, Kaduna
PMI’s goals in the NMOD/USDOD Program target:
- Laboratory Staff strengthening in malaria diagnosis.
- Quality Assurance/Quality Control in malaria diagnosis and
- Provision of technical assistance to National Malaria Elimination Program
Trainings on these key points are conducted by NMOD/USDOD WHO microscopists. These trainings have yielded positive results as knowledge acquired from the malaria microscopy trainings have proven to be effective in proper malaria treatment in the Program sites. Moving towards sustainability, these trainings build capacity for proper malaria diagnosis and quality control. Leveraging on infrastructure provided by PEPFAR and NMOD, the Program has since 2012 trained a total of 513 laboratory staff from within the Program and the private sector in malaria diagnosis. Using the national checklist, it has also conducted supportive supervision for 11 Malaria Assisted Program States (MAPS)-PMI supported states. Long term goals for the Program focuses on building slide banks in collaboration with National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP) and PMI in order to develop a standard malaria slide bank in Nigeria.
Collaboration with AFRICOM
In 2015, the NMOD/USDOD Program moved on to embrace foreign collaboration with the U.S Africa Command. The Program provided support to AFRICOM by training 12 military health care providers from West Africa Malaria Task Force on malaria microscopy and use of rapid test kits in malaria diagnosis. These laboratorians and clinicians came from 6 ECOWAS countries namely; Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ghana were trained on the rudiments of correct malaria detection. The Department of Defense Walter Reed Program-Nigeria has also commenced collaborations with the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3) Cairo, Egypt, by provision of technical and logistical services. It is also assisting in building a sustainable surveillance program with its Nigerian partners. NAMRU-3 is engaged with the Calabar Institute of Tropical Diseases Research and Prevention (CITDR&P) to advance a collaborative project which conducts surveillance for malaria vectors in Cross River State, Nigeria.