Malaria remains a health and economic challenge for Nigeria. As a country, it carries the largest malaria burden in the world with over 100 million cases and 300,000 deaths due to the disease annually (NMEP Strategic Plan for 2014-2020). The negative impact affects all sectors, from high absenteeism in school, to decreased worker productivity and increased insurance costs.
An Ambitious Goal of Elimination Will Require Increased Coordination Between Players Including the Private Sector
The Nigerian Government has made a bold move in transitioning its malaria strategy from one of control to pre-elimination. Realization of the National Malaria Elimination Programme’s ambitious plan to reach pre-elimination status by 2020 will require focused coordination and increased resources from all stakeholders—including the private sector.
Many Nigerian businesses implement workplace programs to protect employees and support community-oriented interventions through funding and in-kind services, complementing governmental programs. However, these efforts have been largely uncoordinated and undocumented. Reliable data on the scope and scale of malaria initiatives implemented and supported by the private sector is an essential first step for better coordination, a need recognized by both Nigeria’s private sector and the government.
Speaking at a Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA) forum held in Lagos in July 2015, the NMEP’s National Coordinator, Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe stated, “The contribution of the private sector is highly valued, but we need to be more coordinated and align with national priorities to fast track progress.”
Better data will lead to better coordination. As such, CAMA and the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) are leading an effort to map the malaria interventions of corporate organizations by human, technical and financial investments.
Creating a Map of Private Sector Investments for Increased Coordination and Investment Efficacy
Early results spotlight a diverse group of companies across sectors which are making significant investments in malaria in Nigeria, including Access Bank Plc, Chevron Corporation, Dangote Foundation, Etisalat, ExxonMobil, Lafarge, Nigerian Breweries, Shell and Zenith Bank.
CAMA/PHN’s early findings indicate that in the past year alone, these businesses have contributed over 3.4 billion Naira (over USD 17 million) to malaria programs; in addition, they’ve made substantial in-kind contributions such as product donations, training for health worker, and provision of technical advice and program management assistance. These investments resulted in over 1.2 million pregnant and unborn children protected with intermittent preventive therapy; over 1 million rapid diagnostic tests dispersed to ensure the accurate diagnosis of malaria; and over 13 million insecticide treated nets distributed to protect individuals and families at risk from malaria.
While these results are impressive, the data suggests that there are still gaps in corporate-led malaria interventions and in high-burden geographies with unmet need, where new private sector investments would be wisely directed. The preliminary data also suggests significant duplication of investments and/or interventions within the same geographic areas.
A Partnership Planning and Advocacy Tool
Thanks to the leadership of the Nigerian business community, private sector participation in malaria control in Nigeria is increasing. However, the issues of coordination and duplication of effort must be addressed for the country to see real impact in some of the hardest-hit areas. By aligning investments where need is most urgent, companies will see a greater return on their investments in the form of social impact and improved health outcomes. This type of demonstrable and documented result will not only build the case for continued investments, but can also incentivize other companies domestically to contribute resources where needed.
Major donors such as The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative are calling for increased investment of domestic resources towards malaria elimination, and health writ large. CAMA and PHN believe that documenting and producing a “map” of current private sector investments in malaria control, and making such information widely available to all stakeholders domestically, will stimulate increased and more efficient local coordination and investment. The power of this data is to influence investment decisions, directing them to areas of underinvestment and highlighting “crowded” areas of investment where duplication of efforts results in diminishing returns.
If you are a business with operations in Nigeria and would like to participate in building this tool, click here to contact the CAMA team. The final report is expected to be shared in late 2016.
The Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA) is a unique coalition of companies from various industries, all with business interests in Africa. A GBCHealth-led initiative, CAMA channels the collective force and voice of the private sector to drive impactful partnerships for malaria control and elimination in Africa from workplaces to region-wide initiatives. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about this project and more from CAMA in Nigeria and globally.
The Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria represents the country’s foremost private sector led engagement and is at the forefront of the Saving One Million Lives initiative. By forging solid partnerships, and focusing on innovation, partnerships, advocacy and impact investments, PHN is creating landmark, innovative, health interventions and saving lives.