The Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has confined a decline in Malaria deaths within the last 12 months to less than 5 confirmed deaths.
In Cross River State, the prevalence of malaria was 24 per cent according to the Nigeria Malaria Information Survey (NMIS, 2021) with almost half 41 per cent of children under 5 years having fever. This led to Nigeria adopting the use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) as a major intervention for malaria prevention.
However, on Monday, May 15th, 2023, the Cross River State Ministry of Health led by Dr Janet Ekpenyong in collaboration with the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) and in collaboration with the Roll Back Malaria Partners (RBM) commenced another round of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) replacement campaign, where a total of 2,797,350 ITNS will be distributed to households.
The campaign will be held across the 18 Local government areas in Cross River State. The last camping being in 2019 shows that after three to five years, the efficacy of the insecticide wears off with the net material becoming worn out. In addition, ITN coverage in communities, according to Cross River State Health Ministry also decreases due to population growth.
However, as malaria remains a significant cause of global poverty and kılls nine persons every hour in Nigeria, of which one out of every five deaths is due to malaria; officials from the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency have confirmed a decline in the number of confirmed malaria deaths recorded between April, 25,2022 and April 25, 2023.
The hint was given by the state DG of Primary Healthcare, Abasi-offiong Offiong in an exclusive Interview with Tribune Online in Calabar. She said confirmed malaria deaths between the 12 months period were less than five. She said the state could achieve the feat due to improved behaviour change.
“Behavior changes through awareness, help us to record less than 5 Malaria deaths in the last 12 months from primary healthcare. There are no statistics that up to five persons even have died because of malaria. There are not up to five.”
The DG further mentioned some of the challenges that the fight against malaria is facing in the state, advising against poor environmental sanitation and hygiene.
“The notion of self-medication is still a problem. Many people still leave assumptions and refuse to get tested before treatment. In fact, assumptions for malaria are more than assumptions that it’s not malaria, which is reason why people go treating themselves. Environmental sanitation too is a major factor, that we think should be improved on.”
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