The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has expressed concern that Nigeria continues to bear the highest burden of malaria globally with over a quarter of all cases and deaths, representing “27 percent and 27 percent respectively as reported in the most recent World Malaria Report.”
He spoke in Abuja yesterday during the annual stakeholders’ national review and planning meeting on Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) implementation.
He urged Commissioners for Health of implementing states to harness their commitment to improving SMC and insecticide treated nets campaign implementation in their respective domains.
Ehinare said his ministry, with the support of funding and implementing partners, reached over 22 million children with SMC in 18 states last year.
Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) involves intermittent administration of full treatment courses of an antimalarial medicine to children in areas of high seasonal transmission during the malaria season.
The minister said 17,397,660 insecticide treated nets were distributed to about 9,665,367 beneficiaries in Nigeria last year.
“This evidence proven strategies have certainly lessen the effects of malaria thereby minimizing proportions of children that progress to life threatening severe malaria and reducing the incidence of anemia and deaths which is some of the testimonials we are receiving from your respective states,” he said.
The permanent secretary of the ministry, Mahmuda Mamman, said the meeting was convened annually to examine how the SMC intervention was carried out in the previous year and use the lessons learnt to build on successes of the last round of SMC to improve and ensure a successful implementation in the current year’s round.