Kuni Tyessi, Abuja
â€ŽNigeria loses an estimated N300 billion annually to treatment and prevention, including loss of man-hours annually to malaria, the National Malaria Eradication Programme (NMEP) has stated.
It said Artemisinin-based Cobination Therapy (ACTs) remains the recommended medicine for malaria as stated by the World Health Organisation, as the use of monotherapy for treatment should be discouraged.
This was revealed by the National Coordinator of NMEP, Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed, during the first quarter media chat organised by NMEP and wit the theme “Use of montherapy for the treatment of malaria: it’s implications for the elimination of malaria.”
He said malaria is preventable, treatable and curable, yet it remain a major public health concern in Africa and Nigeria, and is a major barrier to social and economic development as it is responsible for 11 per cent of maternal death and 30 per cent of child deaths.
He advised that the elimination of malaria requires a multi- pronged approach and social behaviour communication change is key in achieving this goal.
He said “Malaria contributed to 60 per cent of out-patient visits to health facilities, 15 per cent of low birth weight, maternal anaemia, still births, miscarriage and other pregnancy-ralated complications.
“The disease is one of the reasons for poor school attendance in many settings because it accounts for 13 to 15 percent of medical reasons for absenteeism from school. The financial loss due to malaria is estimated to be about 300 billion naira annually in form of treatment costs, prevention costs of man-hoursâ€Ž.
He added that “In 2017, NMEP and her partners distributed a total number of 24,519,371 Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets in seven states to prevent mosquito bites. About 130 million of ACTs were dispensed in 2016 and 25.4 million dispensed October 2017 to treat positive cases”.
Other preventions include Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy, Integrated Community Case Management and the Seasonal Malaria Chemoprophylaxis.