BusinessDay

775,905 pupils administered malaria prevention drugs in Nasarawa

...As state Malaria prevalence rate stands at 14.6%

A total of 775, 905 children under the ages of 5 years across the 13 local government areas of Nasarawa State were administered with Malaria prevention drugs in 2021.

The State Commissioner for Health, Ahmed Baba-Yahaya, stated this at a press briefing to flag-off the second round of Seasonal Malaria Chemo (SMC) prevention campaign in Lafia.

He said that the burden of malaria in the state had drastically reduced from 60 percent to 30 percent, adding that the thread is currently down to 14.6 percent.

Yahaya also said that about 816,532 between the ages of 3-59 months have been targeted in the 2nd phase of the SMC intervention programme being implemented in the state.

According to the health commissioner, the state has keyed into the SMC intervention strategy, which has been on-going in the Sahel and Savanna Regions of the Country in the last 10years, aimed at reducing the prevalence of Malaria, particularly amongst children less than 5 years.

“In the first year of implementation, over 10,000 personnel were involved, and a total of 775,905 children between ages 3-59 months across the 13 LGAs.

“In this 274 year of SMC implementation, 816,532 children have been targeted, and over 9,000 personnel have been engaged for the exercise.

“The burden of Malaria has continued to drop from 60percent since the creation of the state to 30percent in 2010 and to the current 14.6percent in the recent survey in 2018.

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“This achievement is as a result of the consistent effort put in by the leadership of the state, the State Ministry of Health, Healthcare Workers as well as support from Implementing Partners, through various strategies such as Enhanced Environment & Vector Control Activities, Improved Utilisation of Insecticide Treated bed Nets (ITNs), Appropriate Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC), Improved Case Management, Improved Diagnosis & Prompt, Appropriate Treatment.

“SMC is a preventive intervention focused on children under five which is the intermittent administration of full courses of an anti-malarial medicine during the high malaria season to prevent malarial illness with the objective of maintaining therapeutic anti-malarial drug concentrations in the blood throughout the period of greatest malarial risk,” he said.

The commissioner attributed the success to support from partners and enhanced environmental and vector control activities and improved utilisation of insecticide treated beds nets (ITNs).

He said that the state government was doing everything possible to eliminate malaria completely from the state and to achieve zero prevalence in the next few years.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Janet Angbazo said that malaria was caused by a bite of a female anopheles mosquito and its consequences are seen more amongst pregnant women, children of less than five years.

She explained that malaria was capable of causing intrauterine growth retardation of the unborn child, abortion, pre-termed labour, renal failure and death.

She added that malaria was dangerous and responsible for the death of so many people, which was why the state government, in collaboration with partners, has invested a lot toward its elimination.

She therefore, advised the public to endeavour to sleep under insecticide treated nets every day.

Earlier, Director Public Health in the ministry, Ibrahim Alhassan, said the media parley was to create awareness on how to reduce the burden of malaria in the state.

“This media parley is organised to engage media professionals to ensure that the campaign against malaria reaches the nooks and crannies of the state.

“We are enrolling out different strategies to see how we curb the menace of Malaria in the state,” he said.

He lauded the media for their continuous support to the campaign towards the elimination of malaria and appealed for its sustenance.

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