By Bode Olushegun
Malaria prevention drugs have been administered on 2.1 million children in Borno State.
This, according to the State Commissioner of Health, Dr Saliyu Kwaya-Bura, was despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the state was able to achieve this milestone due to collaboration with the Federal government and the World Health Organisation ( WHO ).
Kwaya-Bura said this on Sunday during the fourth circle of malaria prevention programme held at the Elmiskin IDPs camp in Maiduguri.
He said one of the greatest burdens, particularly, with children under the age of five was the high burden of malaria, stressing that the intervention by the Federal government and indeed the Borno State government, supported by partners especially, the WHO, was to give drugs to children under the age of five, such that it helped build their immunity and protect them from contracting malaria.
The Commissioner added that with the drugs administered, even if the children contract malaria, “it is reduced; it is mild and of little effect.”
He said: “So we are aiming to prevent malaria in children as well as make it mild incase they contract malaria. These are drugs that are safe. We have done this before. This is going to be the last for this year.
“The excercise this year had a lot of challenges because of COVID-19, in terms of logistics, in terms of getting people and observing the protocols. However, despite that, I want to say that it has been a very successful exercise . We have been able to reach out to more than 90 percent of our targeted population.”
Also speaking, the WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Molumbo, described the programme as part of measures to prevent malaria from killing children under the age of five years who are the most affected.
He said in addition to the intervention, Borno State government had provided bednets to families so that they could sleep and be protected from bites of the mosquitoes.
“These bednets are treated with insecticides. The other intervention in the State is the in-door residual spraying, where we spray insecticides on the wall because when the mosquitoes finish biting they go to the wall to relax,” Molumbo said.