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How Enugu fights malaria -Health commissioner

The World Malaria Day is commemorated across the world on Thursday, April 25, 2024, Enugu State Commissioner for Health Prof Ikechukwu Obi has revealed that the state prevalence of malaria is 30.2% for Rapid Diagnostic Test and 24.3% for microscopy among children under 5 years.

Obi, who disclosed this at press briefing on Thursday, to mark this year’s World Malaria Day, said that malaria is now a disease of public health importance, and the most highly prevalent parasitic infection in Nigeria.

According to him, Nigeria accounts for 31% of the global malaria deaths and 27% of global malaria cases.

As part of effort to stem the rate of malaria in the country, the Health Commissioner advises that children and elderly people who are most susceptible to malaria should always stay indoors in evening times, adding mosquito vectors bites within the time.

Citing World Health Organisation statistics, Prof Obi explained that one out of three deaths from Malaria globally occur in Nigeria.

“In Enugu State, the prevalence of malaria is 30.2% for Rapid Diagnostic Test and 24.3% for microscopy among children under 5 years” citing Nigeria Malaria Report 2022.

“Malaria still remains a menace in our society despite all the efforts by the Government and partners, the state is faced with challenges that hamper the fight against malaria. The reasons for the endemicity is attributed to heavy pattern of rainfall, with flooding, in some areas, resistance of mosquitoes to the routine repellants, poor hygiene and sanitation, overcrowding, non-adherence to malaria guidelines and the inequities in access to care.”

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He, however, explained World Malaria Day is commemorated to create massive awareness, “bring to lime light the malaria burden, efforts and progress made towards malaria. It is also a day mobilize support, for state and non-state stakeholders to renew commitments towards the fight against malaria.”

“The theme for 2024 World Malaria Day – Accelerating the fight against malaria for a more equitable World with the slogan “Let’s change the narrative now’ is apt in view of the inequities in access to care, education, financial resources and gender inequalities abound especially in children and pregnant women that further exacerbate malaria risks in these vulnerable groups.

“The theme is a clarion call for our health system to be adept not only in delivering quality malarial services but also at responding in an equity oriented, gender responsive and human rights based manner in our health system. Hence a call to address the factors that hinder elimination of malaria that is both preventable and curable.

“We can change the narrative by ensuring we abide by the various methods of prevention of the disease like sleeping inside Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), our pregnant women should attend antenatal care where malaria prevention drug (SP) are given and those that have the symptoms of malaria should visit the health facilities where they will be tested and treated appropriately. Prevention is better and cheaper than cure.

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“Enugu State Government, under the leadership of His Excellency Bar Peter Mba, remains committed in revamping the health sector through infrastructural development and support for health services.

“I want to appreciate our supporting partners, WHO and UNICEF among others, for their support in ensuring reduction in the prevalence of malaria in Enugu State. I equally appreciate our media organizations in promoting health messages to the public.”

Ede Nwa Ede
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