Eleven years after the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria in infancy (IPTi), the federal government has inaugurated Research and Policy Uptake Task Team for National IPTi.
IPTi was recommended by WHO in 2010 as one of the preventive interventions for deployment in sub-Saharan Africa, where the P falciparum parasite is prevalent.
Speaking during the inauguration meeting on Thursday in Abuja, the minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said, “Nigeria is yet to deploy this intervention or conduct a large scale in-country pilot since recommendation by WHO to provide local evidence of its effectiveness and acceptability, hence the need to conduct this study.
He said intermittent preventive treatment in infancy is a full therapeutic course of Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP) delivered to infants through routine immunisation services, for prevention of malaria in infants.
“IPTi has been shown to reduce clinical malaria, anaemia and severe malaria in the first year of life. Treatment is given three times during the first year of life at approximately 10 weeks, 14 weeks, and nine months of age, corresponding to the routine vaccination schedule of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI).
“It is pertinent to note that by coordinating IPTi delivery with EPI, coverage can be expanded. The administration is safe, simple, cost-effective and thought to be accepted by health workers and communities in countries where it is being deployed.