Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention: Borno, WHO deploy 8,000 community health workers
By Cecilia Ologunagba
Abuja, – Borno Government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO) has deployed no fewer than 8,000 community health workers for the ongoing Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention in the state.
The WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, disclosed this in a statement posted on its website.
The UN health agency said the health workers were deployed to deliver Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) to about two million children aged three to 59 months.
SMC is the intermittent administration of full treatment courses of an antimalarial medicine amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine.
The objective is to maintain therapeutic antimalarial drug concentrations in the blood throughout the period of greatest malarial risk.
According to the agency, the health workers deployed include drug administrators, recorders, supervisors and monitors as well as community leaders.
The main objective of the campaign is to protect children from malaria during this year’s peak transmission season.
“During a walk-through flag-off of the exercise, the Borno State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Kadafur stated that government is committed to improving the health of its citizens.
“The government is committed to improving the health of its citizens by partnering with relevant organisations and agencies especially WHO, to implement evidence-based interventions like the SMC.
“Although, Borno is still tackling the outbreak of COVID-19 which has affected nearly 600 persons, in 11 local government areas, it is equally urgent and essential to tackle malaria which is a major killer of children in the state,” it said.
Through the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), WHO received funding from the Global Fund to reach approximately two million children living in 25 LGAs of Borno with the SMC.
Since 2017, WHO has been supporting the SMC implementation in Borno as part of the North East humanitarian response.
Data from the Early Warning and Alert Response Surveillance systems shows that malaria accounts for more than 50 per cent of sicknesses and deaths in children under five in the state,
This situation increases during the four-month peak transmission season, July to October every year.
According to the statement, the door to door campaign, which is the first of the four cycles for 2020, is being implemented in 201 political wards across 25 accessible local government areas of Borno state.
“It focuses on antimalarial drug distribution, community sensitisation and awareness creation, risk communication and social mobilization as well as referral of sick people for facility care,’’ the agency added.
It said that the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, also flagged off the campaign by administering the anti-malaria drug to a number of eligible children.
He urged the government and partners to ensure that internally displaced persons were not left out of the campaign since they are the most exposed, living in make-shift tents and unprotected from mosquito bites.
According to WHO National Consultant, Malaria in Emergencies, Dr Ini Abass Nglass, SMC has proved to be effective in reducing the prevalence of malaria in children.
She said, “SMC delivery will be conducted during peak rainy season (July -October) using the house- to- house strategy to ensure that all children between 3 months and 59 months receive the medication.”
Giving effective antimalarial treatment at monthly intervals during this period has been shown to be 75 per cent protective against uncomplicated and severe malaria in children under five years of age. (NAN)