Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, has declared that the country’s effort towards malaria control is gaining momentum and has progressed appreciably; saying lots of steps had been taken to clinically stamp out the prevalence of malaria and its parasites.
Adewole, who spoke in Osogbo, Osun state capital at the flag-off ceremony for the replacement campaign of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) held at Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, noted that Malaria cases are dropping in the country as 2015 Record on Malaria indicator survey shows that the prevalence of malaria drop to 27% from 42% which was reported in 2010.
The Minister who was represented by Akeem Lasisi, the Chief Medical Director of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, however admitted that despite the effort, malaria still remains a major public health problem in Nigeria.
But, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state said that Federal Government programme on malaria control had really renewed his administration’s commitment to promoting healthy living among citizens through the provision of state-of-the-art health facilities in all the hospitals across the state.
Governor Aregbesola who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, recalled that similar exercise was carried out in 2013 during which 1.6 million treated nets were distributed to the residents of the state.
The governor said: “In spite of the huge amount the governments both the Federal and the State spend in the provision of curative malaria drugs with the support received from the Global Fund, the state still records high rate of malaria cases, hence the shift to prevention of mosquito bites through the current use of treated nets by sleeping inside the net and taking other preventive measures like discouraging stagnant water in our premises to reduce the breeding site of mosquitoes in and around our premises.
“Malaria still claims up to one million lives a year and most of these deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa, a part of the world in which our country is located. Of this huge number, 75 per cent are children under five years.
“It is also a known fact that Nigeria alone bears about 25 percent of Africa’s malaria burden. Deaths from malaria account for up to 11 percent of maternal mortality (death of pregnant women up to six weeks after delivery), it is sad to note that 25 per cent deaths among children below one year, 30 percent of deaths among children under five years and 60 percent of all hospital presentations are recorded from malaria in Nigeria.
“These figures leave no one in any doubt as regards the previous challenge the disease poses to us in the country and our state.
”So, it is in the light of the foregoing, that the State Government, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and Global Fund, has thought it fit to focus more on prevention of malaria than curing it. This is in line with an adage which says that prevention is better than cure”.