The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Health, Daniel Umezurike, has stated that Malaria could have an impact on the ability of infected patients of Covid-19 to recover from the disease.
He, therefore, called for the inclusion of Malaria on the list of pre-existing conditions which can make people vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the deadly virus.
Mr Umezuruike spoke in Abakaliki on Saturday, the state’s capital, at a press briefing to mark this year’s world Malaria Day with the theme: ‘Zero malaria starts with me.’
“Malaria is a dangerous disease. It has (an) impact on other diseases, not just on COVID-19. So, if it is not in the list of pre-existing conditions, it should be added immediately,” he said.
He noted that in the country, malaria has remained a public health problem and major cause of deaths in pregnant women and children of less than five years.
The commissioner said the state government has distributed 1.9 million insecticide mosquito treated nets to the people of the state and has taken other measures including free malaria testing in all the public hospitals in the state to prevent malaria.
He urged the people to always sleep under the nets to prevent mosquito bites, which, according to him, is the major cause of malaria.
Mr Umezuruike said “In Nigeria and Ebonyi state in particular, malaria disease is still a public health problem. Over 60% of hospital attendants are caused by malaria and major cause of deaths in pregnant women and children less than five years.
“The theme for this year’s world malaria day is “zero malaria starts with me and the slogan is, confirm if your fever is malaria -Get tested.
“What this means is that you must confirm that one has malaria before you say that he/she has malaria because of the years people go to the hospital and say they have malaria and they will be treated. This has led to lots of resistance in all the drugs used to treat malaria”.
The commissioner denied some media reports in the state that people were dying in droves as a result of the Lassa fever outbreak.
He disclosed that two persons died of Lassa fever this year contrary to reports that the disease killed 15 persons.
“With respect to Lassa fever, we have managed a total of 85 cases this year in Ebonyi State and unfortunately, we lost two people due to late presentation.
“At present, all the patients that suffered Lassa fever this year have been discharged in the virology centre built by our governor in Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA) and this is verifiable. If people are dying in droves in Ebonyi State, we would have still been having patients in the virology centre,” the Commissioner said.