The House of Representatives has advocated for the subsidisation of malaria drugs in Nigeria and even making them freely available at all Government Health Centres.
Amobi Ogar, chair of the Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Control, highlighted the urgent need for this action during the committee’s inaugural meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
The call, he said, is aimed at combating the widespread issue of limited access to life-saving medications, often hindered by their exorbitant costs. He pointed out that a vast majority of Nigerians were affected by malaria, yet access to affordable drugs remained elusive.
Mr Ogar also emphasised the committee’s commitment to curbing the proliferation of fake and substandard malaria drugs in the country and imposing penalties on those responsible.
The legislator said the committee’s mission goes beyond advocating for subsidised or free malaria drugs. He added that it also includes a comprehensive review of the operations and processes of the Global Fund concerning intervention mechanisms in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Mr Ogar expressed his vision for a Nigeria where malaria drugs would be accessible to the public at no cost or highly subsidised, addressing a significant health concern.
“Following my appointment as the substantive chairman of the committee, I have done extensive research in the area of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. I have also had interface and interactive meetings with key stakeholders within our purview and I must say to you all, there is work to be done,” said Mr Ogar.
The legislator added, “We are going to devise new mechanisms and approaches in our engagements and fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria control in our country with a view to making a difference and avoiding the failures of the past.”
Mr Ogar stressed the importance of seeking new collaborations and partnerships to enhance and reinvigorate the fight against these diseases.
He reiterated the committee’s commitment to protecting the people and holding producers and distributors of fake and substandard Malaria drugs accountable.
“In our oversight on NACA, we discovered that the core agency of the committee must be strategic and robust to ensure they brace up to their responsibilities,” said Mr Ogar.
He added, “To achieve all our objectives, we are ready to partner and collaborate with relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), donor agencies, and NGOs. I assure you that we are ready to move mountains to ensure we succeed.”