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Malaria kills 300,000 children annually in Nigeria – Official

Malaria also causes 11 per cent of maternal deaths in the country.

Malaria is responsible for the death of more than 300,000 children under the age of five in Nigeria annually, the Malaria Action Programme for States (MAPS) has said.

Dominic Usman, the organisation’s Behavioural Change Communication Officer in Benue, said this on Wednesday at the ongoing 5th Benue State Council on Health (SCH) meeting in Makurdi.

Mr. Usman said that the country also recorded over 100 million clinical cases of the disease annually.

He said that the disease was also responsible for 11 per cent of maternal deaths in the country.

“Malaria is the major cause of morbidity and mortality which has direct effect on the growing cases of poverty, low productivity and low school attendance in the country.

“The mosquito-borne illness causes over 100 million clinical cases and is responsible for nearly 300,000 deaths in children under the age of five and 11 per cent of maternal mortality cases annually.”

He said that the efforts by the Federal Government to eradicate the disease had not yielded much result due to structural and behavioural barriers by the citizens.

Mr. Usman, however, commended the private sector for its contribution to the health service delivery in the country.

“It is reported that the private sector contributes over 38 per cent of health care facilities in the country and also provides health care services for over 60 per cent of the health seekers in Nigeria.”

“The private sector is active in the fight against malaria and has comparative advantage in the provision of the drugs, commodities and services needed to prevent and treat the disease.

“It is on record that 60 per cent of patients with the illness patronise private health facilities/providers for treatment and of this number, only 4 to 10 per cent has access to quality parasite-based diagnosis because they are subjected to presumptive diagnosis and treatment,” he said.

He said that the 2012 MAPs diagnosis analysis showed that there was a very weak technical diagnosis capacity in Benue State.

“As a result of the 2012 diagnosis analysis survey, MAPs has trained Medical Laboratory Scientists in Microscopy for secondary facilities, Care workers and Medical Laboratory Technicians on the use of Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests (MRDT) for the primary health care facilities,” Mr. Usman said.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Health, Jonathan Kwaghtsule, called for public and private sector synergy in the health and non-health sectors for the well being of the society.

Mr. Kwaghtsule, who is also the chairman of the technical session of the state’s council on health meeting, said that it was the responsibility of the society to provide the enabling environment for the management of malaria and other health challenges.

He said that the meeting had provided the opportunity to discuss and proffer solutions to health issues affecting the people of the state.

(NAN)