Borno, WHO Administer Malaria Prevention Drug on 2.1m Children

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Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

No fewer than two million children have been benefitted from the malaria prevention drug programme of the World Health Organisation and Borno State Government.

WHO National Coordinator Malaria Emergencies in Nigeria, Dr. Iniabasi Nglas gave the figure during a four round Malaria Chemoprevention Campaigns (MPCs) in 25 of the 27 local government areas of Borno State,

During the advocacy, Nglas said the IDP camps “are given special attention for there is high threat of malaria infection due to the environment. 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 these part of the country, peak rainfall last three to four months and seasonal malaria Chemoprevention campaign which was flagged 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 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.”

Also, the Coordinator of Borno State Malaria Elimination Programme, Mala Waziri said the parents brought their children out in large number to take the drugs as they identified the threat of malaria.

He however said there was no harm in the drug, stressing that it was never dangerous to 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.

Residents of Borno State have come out to give a vote of confidence to the monthly administration of malaria prevention drug.

Speaking on Saturday to journalists, some parents said the drug administration has drastically reduced numbers of those affected by malaria.

One of the parents, Abba Ibrahim, said: “We are happy to present our children for the administration of the drug as it has drastically reduced the cases of malaria, our children since July have not fallen ill.”

He added that: “I must commend government and WHO for the initiative as it has reduced our hospital visits by over 50 percent.

A village head in the area, Bulama Musa thanked the men, heads of households for their commitment and cooperation, which makes the implementation easy.

The World Health Organisation and Borno State Government have administered malaria prevention drug every month (peak rainy period) during a four round Malaria Chemoprevention Campaigns (MPCs) in 25 of the 27 local government areas of Borno State, with Abadam and Marte inaccessible because of Boko Haram crisis.

The present round, which is the third in the series have had 2.1 million children between (3 and 59 months) attended to.