Jutha Gupah, Damaturu

The Yobe State Ministry of Health, WHO and Consortium; have targeted 190, 000 children against malaria by delivering seasonal malaria prophylaxis to six Local Government Areas. The targeted children; who are between ages of three and 59 months, are living in 60 wards of Yusufari, Tarmuwa, Bade, Machina, Nguru and Karasuwa councils. This was disclosed in WHO’s weekly report; released Sunday to journalists in Maiduguri. According to the Report; the targeted six councils recorded highest malaria cases last year in Yobe state. The state; is also one of three mostly affected by the ongoing humanitarian emergencies in northeast. “More than two-thirds of health facilities in the state are partially or not functioning leading to weakened healthcare service delivery,” said the report. It further explained that WHO health resources availability mapping system (HeRAMS) and malaria burden in 2018; was 70% among vulnerable populations, which included the targeted children and pregnant women. Malaria, according to the report; accounts for more than half of all deaths recorded in North East Nigeria compared to other causes including cholera, measles and hepatitis E. The seasonal malaria chemo-prevention campaign being currently implemented at this time aims at maintaining an adequate level of antimalarial medicine concentration. The report said that the campaign; was to kill any malaria parasites during this period of high malaria transmission. WHO officer in charge in Nigeria, Dr. Clement Peter also said: “Global health agency’s recommendations for seasonal malaria chemo-prevention (SMC) campaign across the Sahel sub-region of Africa; has proven to be an effective and evidence based intervention against malaria. “Effective administration of SMC for up to four cycles during the peak of malaria transmission season among children aged 03–59 months could reduce malaria morbidity and mortality significantly,” said Dr Peter. National Coordinator of the National Malaria Elimination Programme representative, Salisu Abdullahi Bogdoiri, at the flag off ceremony; said: “With the seasonal malaria chemo-prevention campaign coming barely a month after the mass distribution of long lasting insecticide nets, we expect that cases of malaria morbidity and mortality among children in Yobe state will decline.” An estimated 198 million Nigerians, in 2018 were at risk of malaria, while  57.3 million malaria cases were also estimated to have occurred along with 81,640 deaths. According to WHO recent weekly report; “This translated to 25% of global malaria cases being found in Nigeria, which accounted for 19% of global deaths. “With increased collaborative efforts to prevent the disease, the malaria burden can drastically be reduced and eventually eliminated in line with one of SDG 3’s target of having it eliminated by 2030,” said the global health agency report.