Okon Bassey in Uyo
Over 90,000 residents of Akwa Ibom State have over the past six years benefitted from malaria prevention service. Africare, an international non-governmental organization, has said.
The Africare Director, Malaria Programme, Dr. Patrick Adah who disclosed this recently in Ibeno Local Government Area of the state during a malaria sensitisation outreach tagged ‘Christmas in Good Health’, said the organisation has introduced a device for testing malaria infection called Deki Reader in 30 health facilities in Eket and Ibeno local government areas of the state.
According to him, the services rendered in two local government areas include regular sensitisation campaigns on malaria, testing, provision of malaria drugs and other commodities.
“The Deki Reader is more effective and reliable than the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) currently in use in Nigeria. The device has the advantage of eliminating human error in the reading of test results,” he further explained.
The director maintained that the test results captured by Deki Reader could be accessed by authorised personnel of the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders in the elimination of malaria in Nigeria.
He noted that with the Deki Reader accurate record of malaria prevention programme and the current prevalence rate could be determined easily in Nigeria.
Adah stressed that the malaria project in the two local government areas was sponsored by ExxonMobil under the programme ‘Malaria Prevention in Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN)-supplier communities (MAPS-C)’.
“We are here to create awareness that malaria is treatable and preventable. We want to encourage the people to utilise malaria commodities. We are choosing this festive mood of Christmas to do this sensitisation so that we can enjoy the yuletide in good health.
“We thank ExxonMobil for providing the funding for the project, we advise the people to use long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) while sleeping in the night,” Adah said.
Also speaking at the sensitisation outreach, the Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, National Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr. Perpetual Uhomoibhi, lauded Africare and ExxonMobil for their partnership in malaria prevention.
Uhomoibhi noted that funding from development partners for malaria control had decreased over the years and called on private sector in Nigeria to invest in malaria control.
“We encourage the private sector to step up funding for malaria prevention programme to maintain healthy workforce in the country,” Uhomoibhi said.
She appealed to ExxonMobil to increase its support to Africare so as to cover the 31 local government areas of the state.
Speaking on the occasion, the chairman of Ibeno Local Government Area, Mr. Ifum Henry, thanked ExxonMobil and Africare for partnering to reduce the prevalence of malaria in the area.
Henry promised to support the activities of Africare in the area as far as healthcare delivery was concerned.