Studies from sentinel sites of malaria and mosquito patterns show emerging resistance of mosquitoes to some of the chemicals used to treat nets.
“The feedback from 37 sentinel sites functional now indicates some resistance spreading across the country,” said Okoko Oyale, head of integrated vector management at the National Malaria Elimination Programme.
He spoke at NMEP quarterly meeting with media in Abuja, this time focusing on integrating several means to manage the malaria-causing vectors mosquitoes.
The programme is looking at innovations in net making to deal with mosquitoes that develop resistance to current long-lasting insecticides used to treat nets.
“There are some new-generation nets being introduced in the market that we are looking to deploy over time because of the resistance we are beginning to observe over these nets,” he said.
With donor funding, NMEP has distributed more than 140 million nets treated with long-lasting insecticide since 2009 nationwide, but worries that progress against malaria is still far from won.
Malaria still accounts for every three in 10 child deaths. Eleven in every 100 women die as a result of malaria. Nigeria loses N480 annually due to “malaria absenteeism and treatment costs”.
“It is evident that we are still not making sufficient progress,” said Audu Mohammed, NMEP national coordinator. “The National Malaria Strategic Plan envisages that by 2020 at least 80% of targetd population utilises appropriate preventive measures.”
Nigeria’s malaria prevalence fell from 42% in 2010 to 27% in 2015, according to the malaria indicator survey conducted that year.
The survey also found that nearly 69% of households had at least one insecticide-treated net, and 35 in every 100 households have at least net for every two persons.
But only 61% of nets in households are used: some 37% of Nigerians sleep under nets.
Mohammed said the distribution of over 140 million nets between 2009 and 2017, with more scheduled for campaigns in the next 12 months, was “significant progress.”
“The critical issue is the use,” he concluded.