The National Malaria Eradication Programme (NMEP) has lamented that despite the reduction in malaria prevalence in the country, it said malaria remains a leading cause of death of under-five children, saying about 30 children die every hour.
The National Coordinator, NMEP, Dr. Audu Muhammed revealed this on Monday in Abuja at the fourth quarter media chat aimed at informing the public through the media on the importance of a stronger partnership between the private sector and NMEP towards sustaining continuous access to ACT.
He said though as challenging as elimination of malaria could be, the federal Ministry of Health through NMEP and her RBM partnership have made some progress towards elimination of malaria in the country.
Muhammed stated: “it is indeed sad to know that malaria is still a leading cause of death for under-five children in Nigeria, snuffing out the lives of about 30 children every one hour and rendering a substantial number of them incapable of effective learning. However, today we have good results on reduction of prevalence.
“In this year, over 8.4 million Long Last Insecticide Nets (LLINs) have been distributed in three states (Kogi, Edo and Osun) while a total of 105 million LLINs have been distributed so far.
“Consequently, the prevalence of malaria has reduced from 42% to 27% (MIS 2015). The National Insecticide Resistance Management (IRM) plan has been finalised, it is meant to guide the country’s decision on malaria management in the future.
“A total of 130 million doses of ACT were distributed in 2016 whereas 25.4 million were dispensed to the private sector as at October,2017 for treatment of malaria. Also, malaria preventive measure through seasonal malaria chemo- prevention was carried out in the sub Sahel regions of the country,” Muhammed noted.
The National Coordinator emphasised that malaria is a problem that requires a multi-prolonged approach, adding that the media is central to solving the age-long problem through dissemination of appropriate information to the general public.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of Society for Family Health, Dr. Ernest Nwokolo said every fever symptoms are not down to malaria, while urging Nigerians to insist of getting tested for malaria before being treated in private hospitals.
He lamented inappropriate use of ACT, stressing that those that need ACT are not thing access.
Private sectors are urged to invest in the sector as funding from international donors continue to deplete.