By Ruth Oginyi/ Charles Nwankwo
Commissioner for health in Ebonyi State Dr. Daniel Umezurike has lamented that over 60% of hospital attendance in Nigeria and Ebonyi State are caused by malaria and appeal to residents of the State to maintain sleeping inside treated mosquito net shared by the State Government with support from USAID.
He noted that malaria is a major cause of morbidity in pregnant women and children below five years in Nigeria.
Dr. Daniel Umezurike made this known in Abakaliki during a media briefing to mark year 2020 world malaria day with the theme: “Zero malaria starts with me” and the slogan, “Confirm if your fever is malaria-get tested”.
World malaria day is celebrated every 25th March with free malaria test, road walk, health talks among other activities in Ebonyi State but the Coronavirus outbreak made the celebration not to be held publicly as usual.
Radio and television programs were used to pass message on malaria prevention to the people by the state government in partnership with Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BAN), a non-governmental organization in the State supported by USAID, as well Jhpiego, an international, non-profit health organization.
He noted that in the country, malaria disease has remained a public health problem and major cause of deaths in pregnant women and children of less than five years.
The commissioner highlighted that the state government has distributed 1.9 million Insecticide Mosquito Treated Nets (ITN’s) 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 and urged the people to always sleep under the nets to prevent mosquito bites which according to him was the major causes of malaria.
Umezuruike said, “In Nigeria and Ebonyi State in particular, malaria disease is still a public health problem. Over 60% of hospital attendance is 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”.
Umezurike emphasized that the celebration gives opportunity to increase awareness on malaria disease and encourage the use of proven intervention measures for malaria control.
Reacting to concern raised that some Government health facilities collect money for malaria test which ought to be free, the commissioner said the report will be investigated, pointing that malaria test is free in the State.
State malaria elimination program officer, Mr. Lawrence Nwankwo in his remark noted that this year’s world malaria day is a lose because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
He however urged the people to maintain Government directives on Covid-19 so that Ebonyi State will survive the pandemic.
Mr. Nwankwo emphasized that sleeping under mosquito net is the best way to prevent the vector from transmission and appeal to residents of the State to maintain sleeping inside treated mosquito net.