• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Kogi Governor flags off seasonal malaria prevention campaign to reduce prevalence in children

Bello congratulates Tinubu, Shettima on victory at Tribunal

The Kogi State Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Malaria Consortium, has flagged off the 2023 Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC), aimed at zero malaria prevalence in children under age five in the state.

Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State, who performed the flag-off ceremony, reiterated his administration’s commitment to a considerable reduction in malaria incidence in children less than five years and pregnant women.

Represented by Edward Onoja, the deputy governor, Governor Bello promised to continue to strengthen routine healthcare service delivery geared towards improving the health of women and children in Kogi, which were largely covered by the Bello Care Initiative.

He noted that the state government had signed an MoU with Malaria Consortium, the implementor of SMC, which commenced mass distribution of malaria preventive drugs in the state in 2021.

He pointed out that the SMC was piloted in nine local government areas in 2021, and was scaled up to 21 in 2022 due to the huge success recorded in reducing malaria burden in children under five years. He also stressed that the effort had drastically reduced the malaria burden in children under five years from 25 to 16 percent, according to a recent Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS).

Governor Bello urged the executive chairmen of the 21 LGAs in the state to accord the necessary support to ensure the success of the program.

He equally implored the traditional and religious leaders, NGOs and other critical stakeholders to sensitize and mobilise the people to ensure that children within the age group benefit from the program.

Zakari Usman, the Commissioner for Health, appreciated the governor for creating an enabling environment for the conduct of this year’s SMC in Kogi.

Usman stressed that the governor’s efforts on the SMC with other laudable health interventions have resulted in great achievements.

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He said, “With the continued support of His Excellency, I believe malaria will be reduced to its barest minimum in Kogi State.

“Kogi State Ministry of Health in collaboration with Malaria Consortium had commenced training of state personnel who would cascade same to others at local government and community levels for the purpose of this year’s SMC exercise.

“The state government’s target for this year’s SMC exercise was to administer the drugs to about 1.2 million children between the age of three to 59 months.

“This year, the state has already received five trailer loads of the drugs at the Central Store for distribution to all the 713 health facilities offering this SMC across the state.

“The drugs are free and safe. As such, any patent medicine store/vendor caught selling the drug will face the wrath of the law.

“I urge all the personnel engaged in this life-saving assignment to be dedicated and committed to the task.

Also speaking, Kenneth Maduka, state programme coordinator, Malaria Consortium, said over 14000 volunteers had been engaged to carry out the SMC exercise for effective service delivery, noting that the drugs had been proven to reduce malaria deaths in children about 70 to 80 percent.

Also, Abubakar Yakubu, executive director, Kogi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (KSPHCDA), commended the state government and other partners, saying the efforts would reduce malaria prevalence in the state.

The representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and other partners, assured the Kogi State government of their continuous support for a successful SMC exercise across the state.