ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The Director-General, Ministry of Defence Health Implementation Programme, Brig-Gen. Nurudeen Hussain, has said that the health status of troops is a critical index in combat efficiency and readiness, especially in the face of contemporary security challenges in the country.
Hussain stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at an event commemorating the 2016 World Malaria Day with the theme: ‘Together We Must Fight Against Malaria and Ebd Malaria fir Good’; where he stressed that the attainment of optimum health of troops was a sine-qua-non in the achievement of the Nigerian Armed forces goal.
He noted that malaria remained a disease of public health significance due to its morbidity, mortality and increased in socio-economic burden on Nigeria in particular and the world in general.
The director-general stressed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that about 3.2 billion people, which is half of the world population, are at risk of malaria, noting that the sub-saharan Africa has a disproportionately high share of the disease.
According to him, “Malaria is endemic in Nigeria and accounts for Spontaneous abortions, anemia (shortage of blood) in pregnancy, low birth weight babies, infant and ubder-five mobility and mortality. It also accounts for about 30% sick absenteeism at work. Globally, the annual expenditure on expenditure on the treatment if malaria is about $1.2 billion.”
Hussain emphasised that malaria was preventable and curable, stressing that increased awareness and sustained efforts are needed to drastically reduce its burden in the communities.
The guest of honour and the President, Defence and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA), Mrs. Omobolanke Olonisakin said malaria was a fatal disease caused by the plasmodium parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito that feeds on humans.
She noted that the effect of malaria is mostly felt in the sub-saharan Africa where a child dies every minute from the disease, stressing that WHO recorded that 88% of global cases and 90% of global death ocvured in the African continent.
Olonisakin stated that, “most of the casualties included children and pregnant women. The disease has continued to have both psychological and socio-economic impacts on the population.”
She emphasised that malaria could be prevented through the use of long lasting insecticidal bed nets, indoor residual spraying, preventive therapies for infants pregnant women and children-under five as well as quality diagnostic testing and treatment.
“Limited access to facilities and improper or under utilisation of available malaria interventions within countries are the major causes of excessive high burdens if malaria cases and death, ” she stated.