The House of Representatives stated that the declaration of a state of emergency on malaria could be the best approach to curb the spread of the protozoan disease in the country. The Federal Government was called on by the House to make malaria drugs affordable if they can not be gotten for free at all government-owned health centres for the sake of the people. This was mentioned during the inaugural meeting of the Committee on HIV/AIDS.
Amobi Ogar, the Chairman of the Committee, while addressing HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis control, stated that the majority of people in Nigeria cannot afford to buy the drugs due to the price hikes and its expensive rate, and despite the rate of infections in the country. A promise was also made by the lawmaker, stating that the committee would deploy their service by getting rid of fake and substandard drugs, issuing appropriate sanctions on the manufacturers that produce them in the country.
There would be advocacy and push on subsidization.
He restated that the committee would examine the processes and operation of the Global Fund, which is related to the steps and intervention to combat HIV/AIDS in the country. According to him, he expressed his concerns on the havoc and detriment of malaria, which is causing harm to the populace. He explained that there would be advocacy and push on the subsidization of the price of malaria drugs so it would be available for free at all government health centres.
Also, it is very apparent that many Nigerians are affected by malaria, while drugs are currently not available and the price of the available ones are quite expensive. He announced his hope and vision to witness Nigeria giving these drugs to all Nigerian citizens at subsidized prices, or given freely. Generally, the committee is saddled with the duty of formulating legislative measures and protocols for the control and prevention of some diseases, such as HIV/AIDS.
Substandard drug distributors have no hiding place.
Legislative measures were also formulated for malaria and tuberculosis. The committee also aids the harmonization and coordination of activities of non-governmental and government agencies on malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS to guarantee effectiveness of the efforts at remedy and cure for AIDS patients, and Malaria and HIV/AIDS control. He announced that it is the duty of the committee, the people’s representatives, to protect Nigerians. Hence, he made it known to the public that there would be no hiding place for substandard drug distributors and producers.
Ogar said that it is the responsibility of the committee to supervise all agencies within their jurisdiction, including annual budget estimates, and other duties, according to Standing Order 20, Rule 52 of the House of Representatives (10th edition). Also, he explained that his appointment by Tajudeen Abbas in the 10th National Assembly as the substantive chairman of the committee has seen an extensive research in the sector of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. He mentioned that he has also had interface and interactive meetings with major stakeholders within the committee’s purview.
Importance of collaborating with major stakeholders.
Additionally, he charged everyone that there is work and activities to be carried out. He declared that there would be a new invented approach and mechanism to combat malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS control in Nigeria. Ogar emphasized the mandate to achieve the goal, including the importance of collaborating with major stakeholders. More importantly, the core agency of the committee, that is National Agency for the Control of AIDS, must be robust and strategic to duly deploy their responsibilities.