Malaria Responsible for 11% Maternal Deaths in Nigeria, Says FG

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The federal government has said malaria is responsible for about 11 per cent of pregnancy related maternal death annually in the country.

The Director of Surveillance, Monitoring and Evaluation of the National Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr. Perpetua Uhomoibhi, said though Nigeria still occupies the first position in terms of high burden countries, and also in terms of mortality from malaria, the good thing is that the country is making steady progress towards the elimination of malaria.

Speaking in an interview with THISDAY during the presentation of 5,000 doses of anti-malaria regiment – Maldox by Emzor Pharmaceutical Company to the the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja, Uhomoibhi said part of the target of the malaria elimination project is to improve on the very low anti-natal care in the country by going to communities to meet with these women to give them preventive drugs where they could not come to the hospital.

Regarding the current statistics on malaria prevalence, she said: “We have a decline in the prevalence in children under five from 42 per cent in 2010 to 27 per cent in 2015 and the last survey we did showed that it is now 22.6 per cent in 2018.

“Our plan is to bring it to zero and together with the help of our partners, we will achieve that.

“On malaria among pregnant women, the last data we had revealed that malaria is responsible for about 11 per cent pregnancy related maternal death annually.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Emzor, Mrs. Stella Okoli, presented the 5,000 doses of the anti-malaria regiment to the officials of the Federal Ministry of Health led by the Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorumibe Mamora, at a brief ceremony in Abuja.

Speaking at the presentation, the minister said the federal government was highly appreciative of the gesture by Emzor.

He added that what Emzor Pharmaceutical Company has done in the area of manufacturing of drugs has clearly shown the potentials of the country.

“Nigerians have the capacity to do so many things so far the enabling environment is there,” he said.

He commended Emzor’s generousity and tasked everyone to contribute his/her quota to the development of the
society.

While recieving the drugs on behalf of the National Malaria Elimination Programme, the Permanent Secretary, Abdullahi Marshi, said the anti-malaria drug would be taken to Ondo State to help fill the existing supply gap.

In her remarks, Okoli said there’s need for government to collaborate more with the private sector in addressing the health challenges confronting Nigerians.

Also, Emzor Executive Director Special Duties, Uzoma Ezeoke, said the reason for the intervention by the company was not just to preserve the lives of pregnant women, but also to keep their babies alive and safe from the killer malaria disease.

She said Emzor was responding promptly to a call for assistance from the National Malaria Elimination Programme to provide the anti-malaria drug.

According to the Bureau of Statistics, 27 per cent of children of ages between 6-59 months tested positive to malaria by microscopy.

Similarly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) health study stated that 25 per cent of malaria cases in the world occurs in Nigeria, while 24 per cent of deaths resulting from malaria attack also take place in the country.

Three states, Ondo, Niger and Ebonyi, have the highest cases of malaria in the country.