ABEOKUTA – The Commissioner for Health in Ogun State, Dr. Tomi Coker at the weekend declared Nigeria accounts for about 24% of malaria deaths globally.
Coker, who disclosed this while addressing newsmen in commemoration of 2021 World Malaria Day (WMD) held at the Ministry of Health conference room, Okemosan, Abeokuta, said malaria is a disease that is preventable, treatable and curable.
The government also said the intervention will be in the area of distribution of free Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) to pregnant women at first booking and children under 5 years who complete immunization schedules in all public health facilities.
Dr Tomi Coker who was represented at the briefing by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr A. E. Ayinde said the World Malaria Day was set aside to mobilize the global community and resources towards providing education and understanding on malaria Scourge.
" The Africa region still bears 90% of the global malaria burden and 91% of Malaria deaths worldwide. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa accounts for about 27% of this burden and 24% of Malaria deaths globally.
"In Nigeria, Malaria is responsible for approximately 60% of out-patient visits and 30% of hospital admission. It contributes up to 11% of maternal mortality, 25% of infant mortality and 30% of under 5 mortality. It is estimated that about 110 million cases are clinically diagnosed annually.
"Malaria creates additional burden on the already weakened health system and accounts for about 480 billion Naira in out-of-pocket expenses for treatment, prevention and man hours loss; it thus exerts a severe social and economic burden on the nation and households.
The Commissioner said the theme for 2021 World Malaria Day is "Zero Malaria – Draw the line against Malaria" with the slogan "Stand up – Take action", said the "theme makes the message more personal and emphasises need for communities and individuals to take ownership of Malaria prevention more seriously.
"This year's commemoration will build on the "Zero Malaria starts with me" movement and the "Draw the line against Malaria" youth-focused campaign. It is an opportunity to encourage and promote multi-sectoral collaboration as well as youth involvement in Malaria elimination.
"This requires technical focus and sustained funding by the government, the private sectors and household resources.
"The government of Ogun State is working with her partners to ensure that proven interventions are deployed towards Malaria elimination; these include: Distribution of free Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) to pregnant women at first booking and children under 5 years who complete immunization schedules in all public health facilities.
"It is pertinent to note that the State has also started the process of LLIN replacement campaign aimed at distributing 3.7m nets to every household. The household mobilization and distribution process to all households is planned for July 2021.
"We also continue free testing and treatment with Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACTs) in all the primary health facilities in Ogun State. In 2020, out of the 311,668 fever cases tested, 255,872 were positive for malaria and 99.5% of those positive were treated free with ACTs.
"The severe malaria cases are managed with Artesunate injection in secondary and tertiary health facilities. The free testing and treatment with ACTs is also extended to identified schools with School Health Workers.
These schools are linked to close primary health centres for supply of RDT kits and ACTs to treat students in school. This gives opportunity of prompt treatment to students which prevents advancement to severe cases and reduces absenteeism.
Also, Behavioural Change Communication (BCC) activities (such as drama, Interpersonal communication, net hanging demonstrations, role play in communities) are being scaled up with support from our partners. Capacity building programmes on Malaria for all relevant health professionals and regular monitoring and supervision are carried out regularly to ensure standards. As part the effort of His Excellency to reduce infant and maternal mortality and increase life expectancy for the general populace of the state, the administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun has commenced renovation of 236 Primary Health Care facilities with 42 already completed.
The slogan "Stand up – Take action" is a call to action to everyone to take a stand and carry out specific roles. Individuals and communities are encouraged to undertake regular clearing of bushes, drainages and receptacles that serve as breeding sites for mosquitoes. Ensure every member of their households especially pregnant women and children sleep inside Insecticide Treated Nets.
You should also take advantage of the free Malaria test and treatment available in our public facilities whenever you have fever or other symptoms.
Our Traditional and Community Leaders are to sensitize their communities on clean environment and promote same to make sure their environments are rid of breeding sites for disease-borne vectors. Our Religious Leaders should include key messages on Malaria prevention in their r sermons and preaching. Media houses are enjoined to support awareness creation and promote Malaria prevention through various mass media platforms. In conclusion, we will not relent on our efforts, as every step brings us closer to the goal of ending Malaria.
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