The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is supporting Borno Ministry of Health to reach more than 850,000 children with anti-malaria drugs to reduce high child morbidity and mortality rates in children under five.
A statement issued by the Ms Charity Warigon, Media Communication Specialist, WHO Nigeria, on Monday in Abuja said the activity was part of the 4th cycle of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) campaign.
According to her, SMC is a WHO-recommended intervention for children under five years living in the Sahel sub-region of Africa.
She said: “The use of this preventive strategy especially during the peak transmission period (rainy season) has been shown to reduce cases of severe malaria by about 75 per cent.’’
She added that the campaign aimed to reduce the burden of malaria especially among children between three to 59 months who have been predisposed to mosquito bites in Borno.
Warigon quoted WHO Health Emergency Programmes Manager, Dr Collins Owili, as saying that SMC campaign is introduced in Borno with a view to reducing high child morbidity and mortality rates in children under five in Borno due to malaria.
“In response to high burden of malaria in north-east Nigeria, WHO initiated a seasonal malaria modelling exercise in 2017 aimed swiftly reducing the toll of malaria by saving 10,000 lives among children under five in the state.
“This exercise has proven to be effective and that is why we continued with another four cycles this year.
“It is hoped that lessons learned from the campaign in north-eastern Nigeria can be applied in other emergency settings across the world,” he said.
The statement also quoted Borno state Malaria Programme Manager, Mr Mala Waziri, attesting to the effectiveness of the intervention in the state.
Waziri said that the burden of malaria in the state has evidently reduced since the exercise was modelled in 2017.
He said even though the state was yet to conduct an impact assessment of the SMC exercise in Borno, the intervention has helped to reduce the incidence of malaria in the household.
He added that because of the intervention, many households reported less malaria cases in the clinics in 2018 as compared to the previous year.
The statement said the 4th cycle was the last of the planned malaria campaign for the state this year.
It added that WHO and other partners would continue to emphasise on the use of use of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN) to ensure that the population were prevented from malaria after the campaign.
“WHO will continue to support and facilitate partnership as well as mobilisation to support malaria control in Borno state,’’ it said.