The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), celebrated five years of the VectorLink project’s achievements in the fight against malaria in Nigeria.
This is according to a press release on Thursday by the US embassy in Abuja.
The statement said “Implemented in close partnership with the Government of Nigeria, the five-year, $7.8 million President’s Malaria Initiative VectorLink project provided technical expertise for surveillance of organisms that host malaria-causing parasites and insecticide resistance monitoring across Nigeria.
It added that in 2021, malaria killed an estimated 619,000 people around the world, an increase of 12 percent over the prior year, with many of the additional deaths due to service disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions more fell sick from the disease, with young children and pregnant women among the most vulnerable. Nigeria contributes almost a quarter (23 percent) of the world’s malaria cases and has a 31 percent mortality rate. There is widespread insecticide resistance by the major malaria vectors across the country. This threatens the effectiveness of the available control tools, including nets.”
Since 2006, the United States President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has protected millions of people in Africa from malaria through the deployment of insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying. These interventions kill the mosquitoes that transmit malaria by spraying insecticide on the walls, ceilings,and other indoor mosquito resting places. In September 2017, the United States continued its commitment to tackling this deadly disease, launching the five-year PMI VectorLink Project in Nigeria.
The statement also said the PMI VectorLink Project equipped Nigeria to plan and implement safe, cost-effective, and sustainable indoor residual spraying and other life-saving malaria vector control interventions with the overall goal of reducing the malaria burden.
It added, from January 2022 to now, the project has provided quality control for the distribution of more than 21 million insecticide-treated nets in Nasarawa, Rivers, Kebbi, Sokoto, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Bauchi, and Cross River. Those distributed bed nets protect over 42 million Nigerians from malaria.
Speaking at Thursday’s event, PMI Resident Advisor Jules Mihigo said, “USAID reaffirms our commitment through PMI to support the holistic approach of the national malaria control program to eliminate malaria in Nigeria, notably through vector control. We would like to thank the National Malaria Elimination Programme for the unwavering leadership and our partners at VectorLink for the quality and diligence of your work over the past five years. “
As the VectorLink project draws to a close, the statement said USAID-PMI will continue to engage and support the National Malaria Elimination Programme under the new PMI-Evolve project, which will begin on August 1. PMI-Evolve will build the capacity of community members to understand, accept, and sustain the use of vector control interventions to reduce mosquito bites and the malaria burden.