Abuja, 11 May 2017- Wary of the threats of increased incidence of malaria cases in the northeast region of Nigeria, the World Health Organization (WHO) is leaving no stone unturned in scaling up interventions in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states as the rainy season sets in. The three states are those mostly affected by insurgency, which has led to significant displacement of people and left the affected states’ health system and social infrastructure weakened.
During the rainy season, open gutters and water collections/ponds serve as good breeding grounds for proliferation of the female anopheles mosquito (the vector for the plasmodium parasite, the causative agent for malaria). Increased outdoor activities also expose many people to mosquito bites, and the poor living conditions lead to increase in incidence of malaria, with women and children mostly affected.
Given the trend over the years, and in preparation for the high malaria transmission season which starts in July, a mission led by Dr Pedro Alonso, Director of Global Malaria Programme from WHO HQ visited Borno state Commissioner for Health, Dr Haruna Mshelia, to provided technical guidance and initiate appropriate strategic direction for North East Malaria control programme. While in Borno, the team also visited internally displaced persons’ camps in Maiduguri, the state capital.
Dr Alonso, during a separate meeting with partners and donors emphasized the need for the country and partnership to institute measures to halt deaths due to malaria. He reiterated WHO’s commitment to support Nigeria, currently contributing 29 of every 100 malaria cases in the world, to tackle the problem.
He urged concerned authorities to identify appropriate interventions and fine-tune emergency strategies to save lives as well as sustain efforts and gains achieved through such emergency responses.
WHO country office is supporting disease surveillance in the northeast through the Early Warning and Alert Response System (EWARS) which currently picks data from 148 active sites. In addition, WHO is providing basic healthcare services through mobile outreach teams.
The organization has already built capacity of 540 community resource persons for management of common childhood illnesses. By end of April 2017, over 270,000 children under 5 years have been reached with the Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM) for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea.
In collaboration with other partners, WHO assisted with distribution of over 350,000 Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) and provided about 700,000 doses of Artemisin- based Combination Therapy (ACTs) to the three affected states. Furthermore, 1.6million Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) kits and 1million gloves have been distributed to improve malaria testing in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
For more information, please contact:
Dr Lynda Ozor; Tel: +234 803 402 0832; Email: ozorl [at] who.int " target="_blank"> ozorl [at] who.int
Ms Charity Warigon; Tel: +234 810 221 0093; Email: warigonc [at] who.int" target="_blank"> warigonc [at] who.int
01 - Nursing mothers displaying their LLINs
02 - Commissioner for Health, Dr Haruna Msheila (right) welcoming Dr Pedro Alonso to Borno state