The Kaduna State government on Tuesday launched free antimalarial medication to every resident requiring treatment in a public hospitals.
The government also appealed for blood donation, and is expanding the distribution of mosquito nets.
Speaking with officials and patients during a visit to the Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital, Governor Nasir El-Rufai expressed his sympathy to individuals and families that have been affected by malaria outbreak.
The governor said the state was treating the issue as an emergency, and would extend free treatment beyond children under five, pregnant women and the elderly.
Hospital officials disclosed that a lot of the affected children were also anaemic.
Mr. El-Rufai appealed to the public to support the malaria containment effort by donating blood.
Paul Dogo, the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, described the scale of the challenge.
“Up to 1000 cases are reported at various government hospitals daily, but Yusuf Danstoho Hospital has the highest number of cases. For example, between Friday and Sunday, 2500 patients reported to Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital,” he said.
Children constitute 1,500 of these malaria patients.
“Last week, we distributed drugs in all government hospitals for free treatment of women and children. But the governor has directed us to procure more drugs to treat all patients, including adults in all public hospitals.
“We are also collecting blood samples for screening to ascertain if it is only malaria or if there is some other disease we are dealing with. And whatever we find, we will take appropriate measures to handle the situation”.
Dr. Dogo explained that other steps are being taken to tackle the epidemic, including expanding the distribution of mosquito nets.
“I am appealing to our people to please use the free treated mosquito nets we are distributing to reduce exposure to malaria. We should also clean our environments and clear all gutters where mosquitoes breed,” he said.
Residents who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES welcomed the gesture.
“El-Rufai struck at the right time. People are dying in Kaduna because of this malaria. So many people cannot afford the treatment. Now people are getting it free. I was in Kawo hospital Yesterday and you can see how people re lying sick and may do not even have money for drugs,” Awwal Salisu, Kawo resident said.