April 25th is always marked as World Malaria Day. With this year’s theme; “ZERO MALARIA STARTS WITH ME”, Malaria is a life threatening disease which is caused by the bites of infected mosquitoes. there have been grass root campaigns aimed at keeping malaria high on the political agenda, mobilizing additional resources, and empowering communities to take ownership of malaria prevention and care however more still needs to be done.
While the world battle the scourge of COVID-19 we must remember that behavioral change is important to win the war against malaria in Africa. Keeping our environment clean, avoid stagnant water and breeding sites for mosquitoes, sleep under insecticide treated nets amongst other behaviors will help change the picture.
Through leadership and collective action, we can radically reduce suffering and death from malaria. and this is what the CRS Malaria Elimination program is doing. The state working with USAID and other partners have distributed 2.4 million Long lasting insecticide treated nets to 2.4 million house holds, sensitization, jingles community mobilizations and proper case management has made Cross RiVer State one of the best in the country as it concerns coverage of service coverage in Nigeria
2000 and 2014, the number of malaria related deaths fell by 40% worldwide, from an estimated 743,000 to 446,000. But in recent years, progress has ground to a standstill. According to WHO’s World malaria report 2019, there were global gains in reducing new infections over the period of 2014 to 2018 which was very marginal and nearly as many people died from malaria in 2018 as the year before.
As such, the Honorable Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu in her speech to mark this year’s World Malaria day has therefore called on the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as other International Donors not to neglect the negative impacts of Malaria irrespective of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic the world is facing today.
“When we first heard of Malaria, the entire world was running helter skelter just like we are doing today with COVID-19 and at a later part Malaria became a common treatable disease, as such i believe that Corona Virus will some day become a common treatable disease too. Our leaders shouldn’t be distracted by the hit of COVID-19 thereby forgetting how deadly and dangerous malaria is. We must tackle both with all amount of seriousness.”
She called on cross riverians to always sleep under treated mosquito nets provided by the State Government through the support of USAID. In her words, “Sleeping under an insecticides treated bed net every night is proven to be a cost effective way to prevent malaria. particularly from dusk to dawn. Malaria is one of the leading killers of children in Nigeria,
She used that medium to thank the Government of Sen Prof Ben Ayade and His Amiable wife Dr Linda Ayade for supporting the fight against Malaria in CRS and providing all the necessary support needed in the health sector that has helped to reduce drastically the mortality rate arising from malaria and other health related diseases.
Dr Edu extends her appreciation to the U.S government for their support to control malaria in Nigeria including the distribution of nearly 34 million mosquito nets which has resulted to 36% reduction in malaria incidence amongst children under the age of five in the country.
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