ANAMBRA State Ministry of Health, under the aegis of Saving One Million Lives (SOML-PforR) initiative, last week, embarked on distribution of 53,350 Long Lasting Insecticidal nets (LLINs) to 167,000 private schools children under age five across the state.
Saving One Million Lives (SOML-PforR) initiative is a broad-based investment program with six distinct health pillars – immunization, malaria control, nutrition, prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, delivery of essential medicines to address common childhood illnesses, and strengthening of Maternal Child Health (MCH) delivery platforms .SOML-PforR) has the potential to dramatically improve maternal and child health in the country.
During the flagg off at Diamond Nursery and Primary School, Aguleri, the Commissioner for Health, Vincent Okpala, stated that the programme is addressing the six pillars, one of which is controlling malaria through the means of LLINs to children under age five, so as to reduce incidents of malaria and also called on parents to use the opportunity positively.
“Let every pregnant woman start antenatal care (ANC) early, attend at least four focused ANC, get tested for HIV and know your result, thereafter, you need to deliver your baby under a skilled staff. Mothers should ensure their children receive full schedule of immunization, vitamin A every six months and sleep under LLINs every night,” he stated.
On his part, the Malaria State Programme Manager, Pharm. Nonso Ndibe, noted that malaria is endemic in the country, and a parasitic disease caused by plasmodium species and also the commonest species in Sub-Sahara Africa
Ndibe stated that plasmodium phasipharum is the cause of 97 percent of malaria in Nigeria usually by the bite of female anopheles mosquitoes. “World Health Organisation, report of 2017, recorded that 457,000 people die of malaria globally and 213 million cases worldwide.”
“Nigeria contribute to 23 percent of the global malaria crisis with 180 million people living in area of high malaria risk. National Malaria Strategy Plan of 2014-2015 indicated that 80 percent of Nigerians should use appropriate malaria preventive method by 2020.
However, Director of Public Health, Uchechukwu Onyejimbe described malaria as the greatest morbidity that leads to maternal death. “ It is endermic in tropical and sub-tropical climate, which has become a great problem as it relate to health of people especially the under age five.
Moreover, he stated that government has made concerted effort in reducing the disease to its barest minimum, hence the distribution of LLINs across the stat. He implored people to properly use it for better result.
While delivering her speech, Programme Manager (SOML PforR), Obiageli Uchebo, enjoined parents to ensure their children sleep inside the net while advising pregnant women to receive IPT from health facility from 4 months till birth.
More so, Mr. Uchebo described malaria as a major cause to abortion, anaemia, stillbirth in pregnant women and anaemia, jaundice, convulsion, even “umafo” and organ damage, etc, in children, saying that both grousp are most vulnerable to the disease
“Complications that come with malaria kill fast. Unfortunately, many parents do not know that malaria killed their children, instead they erroneously link their death to complication or witchcraft.”
In a vote of thanks, the President General of Aguleri, Chief Onwuegboka, who was represented by Anthony Omazu, extolled Gov. Obiano for the kind gesture, and pointed that though schools were almost closed for the session as most students had stopped coming to school but nevertheless, the LLINs will in a long way, reduce malaria after those who collected use it.
Highpoints of the event are traditional dance by the school and distribution of LLINs to mothers.
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