The Kwara Government says the state will begin Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention during the rainy season when malaria disease is at its peak.
Alhaji Nageri Abdullahi, the Programme Manager, Kwara State Malaria Elimination Programme told newsmen made this known in Ilorin on Tuesday. According to him, Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention is the intermittent administration of full treatment courses of an anti-malarial medicine on children in areas of highly seasonal transmission of malaria. “The objective is to prevent malarial by maintaining therapeutic anti-malarial drug concentration in the blood throughout the period of greatest malarial risk,’’ he said. He said that the government had already drawn the micro plan and required amount of tablets for 11 Local Government Areas of the state, adding that the programme would tentatively begin in June and would run till July. Abdullahi said that the government was working in conjunction with the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMET) to predict when best to commence the programme. He listed some of these LGAs that are susceptible to malaria during the season to include Isin, Oke-Ero, and Irepodun LGAs among others.
According to him, the government has procured Intermittent preventive treatment in infants (IPTi), which is a full therapeutic course of anti-malarial medicine delivered to infants through routine immunisation services. This he said was regardless of whether the child was infected with malaria. “About 700,000 of the drugs will be distributed to the 11 LGAs to under-five children,’’ he said. Abdullahi disclosed that the government had been funding the malaria elimination programme to mark the World Malaria Day observed every April 25 to bring awareness on the need to achieve zero malaria infection. According to him, the commitment shown by the state government through release of counterpart funding has ensured international partners have also keyed into the programme on malaria elimination. He said that so far, the state had distributed about 2.9 million pieces of mosquito nets across the state. “Malaria is a deadly disease and still constitutes the highest-burden in public health as 60 per cent of health issues in hospitals are due to malaria, while its results in 11 per cent in maternal and 25 per cent in child mortality,’’ he said. Abdullahi, however, warned that not all ailments translate to malaria, adding that tests had to be conducted to ascertain the disease, saying that people should stop self-medication.