Abuja – State governments in the country’s Sahel region have been urged to scale-up malaria intervention for children to enable them achieve the World Health Organisation (WHO) malaria pre elimination target by the year 2020.
Dr Nnenna Ezeigwe, the National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) in Nigeria, made the call at the end-of-project dissemination event for the states held in Abuja.
Ezeigwe said Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) had been adopted to combat malaria in the nine Sahelian states of Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara, in line with WHO recommendation.
She noted that five states had so far implemented the intervention programme in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health and other partner Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
She explained that “the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation SMC project in Katsina State implemented by Malaria Consortium started in 2013 and had successfully supported four local government areas.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
“The areas are Baure, Dutsi, Mai’adua and Mashi and the programme had seen drugs delivered to children in these areas.
“Experience from the field has shown that the intervention is well accepted by the stakeholders and the benefitting communities with minimal incidences of adverse drug reaction.
“Children between three and 59 months of age were administered with full doses of Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine plus Amodiaquine (SPAQ) during the peak period of malaria transmission in the rainy season.
“It proves to prevent 75 per cent of all cases of malaria and severe malaria, thereby decreasing the malaria mortality, as well as incidence of moderate severe anemia.’’
Dr Godwin Ntadom, the Head, Case Management Branch, National Malaria Elimination Programme, said malaria could be eliminated within a short time when properly tackled.
He said “malaria is something that when you get it right you can eliminate it within a short time and that is what most countries have done.
“Some countries in Africa are no longer battling with malaria because they have been able to eliminate it.
“Countries like Rwanda, Namibia and South Africa had malaria as a major problem but when you go there now, you will not be afraid of malaria because they have been able to beat it down.
“We should be able to demonstrate that we can do it,’’ Ntadom stressed.
Dr Kolawole Maxwell, the Country Director, Nigeria Malaria Consortium, said efforts were being made to ensure that the intervention was easily and readily accessed by the people.
He said “it is a combination of receiving it at the health facility, at the door-to-door which will be administered by the caregivers deployed in the various areas.
“The interventions, however, cannot work alone, except it responds to the needs of the people.
“When we first got to Katsina, we were told that a lot of people where dying in this period but we were glad that we had a tool that was preventing that.
“We hope to see a situation where every stakeholder will show commitment for malaria to be a thing of the past in Nigeria and beyond.’’ (NAN)