By Michael Olugbode
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Borno State Government have taken malaria prevention drugs to 42 internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the troubled North-east state.
The programme, which is targeted at 2.1 million children between three and 59 months, would not be held in two local government areas, Abadam and Marte, of the 27 local government areas of Borno State due to insecurity.
The ongoing cycle is the second in a four-round Malaria Chemoprevention Campaigns (MPCs) given during the four peak rainy months of the year in the state.
Speaking at the El-Miski IDP camp in Maiduguri, the WHO National Coordinator, Malaria Emergencies in Nigeria, Dr. Iniabasi Nglas, said the IDP camps are given special attention for there is high threat of malaria infection due to the environment.
She said record has shown that the treatment has reduced malaria morbidity in the state.
She revealed that during the first cycle, 1.9 million children were targeted but due to high reception, 2.1 million children were administered with the drug.
She said: “In this part of the country, peak rainfall lasts three to four months and seasonal malaria Chemoprevention campaign, which was flagged off last month, is to protect the Sahel areas. Within these three to four months when there is peak malaria incidences and prevalence.
“The programme is scheduled to happen during the peak rainfall to protect children between the age of 3 months to 59 months from malaria sickness. The programme is not only done here, but in other eight states in the country.
“Borno happened to be one of the states, but in Borno, WHO is taking the lead working with the Borno State Government with support from Global Fund. We are going to do this programme for five days, but each child will get a drug the first day. After that, the second and the third day doses are handed over to caregivers or parents and guided on what to do.”
The state Coordinator, Malaria Elimination Programme, Mala Waziri, said the parents brought their children out in large numbers to take the drugs as they identified the threat of malaria.
He however said there is no harm in the drug, stressing that it is never dangerous to the child’s health.
He advised parents to discard the information on social media that the drug will adversely affect their children.
Waziri said the drug had been administered in the state since 2017 and record has shown that it has been able to drastically reduce cases of malaria morbidity in the state.