With more than 2,700 volunteers across seven local government areas of Borno State, the 4th cycle of seasonal malaria chemo-prevention campaign is underway.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is supporting the state Ministry of Health to reach more than 850,000 children aged 3 – 59 months with anti malaria drugs in the concluding cycle of the campaign for 2018.
A statement issued to newsmen yesterday in Maiduguri by the field communication officer, WHO, Dr Chima Onuekwe said the campaign aims to reduce the burden of malaria especially among children 3-59 months who have been predisposed to mosquito bites in the crisis torn Borno State.
WHO Health Emergency programmes manager, Dr Collins Owili explained that seasonal malarial chemoprevention campaign was introduced in Borno State with a view to reducing high child morbidity and mortality rates in children under five in the state due to malaria.
“In response to high burden of malaria in Northeast Nigeria, WHO initiated a seasonal malaria modelling exercise in 2017 aimed at swiftly reducing the toll of malaria by saving 10, 000 lives among children under five in Borno State.
“This exercise has proven to be effective and that is why we continued with another four cycles this year. It is hoped that lessons learned from the campaign in north eastern Nigeria can be applied in other emergency settings across the world,” Dr Owili said.
Attesting to the effectiveness of the intervention, Borno State Malaria Programme manager, Mala Waziri, stated that the burden of malaria in the state has evidently reduced since the exercise was modeled in 2017.
“Although, we are yet to conduct an impact assessment of the seasonal malaria chemoprevention exercise in Borno State, it is evident that the intervention has helped to reduce the incidence of malaria in the household as less cases are reported in the clinics this year compared to previously,” he said
According to Dr Ini Nglass, WHO focal person for malaria prevention in the Northeast Nigeria, the 4th cycle is the last of the planned malaria campaign for Borno State this year.
“This is the last of the planned cycles of seasonal malaria chemoprevention for the year. Our volunteers are administering anti malaria drugs but we hope to also distribute insecticide treated nets, another proven strategy for malaria prevention, next year.
“SMC is a WHO recommended intervention for children under five living in the Sahel sub-region of Africa. The use of this preventive strategy especially during the peak transmission period (rainy season) has been shown to reduce cases of severe malaria by about 75%,” he added.
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