A medical expert and member Global experts are calling on stakeholders and government at all levels to urgently close the gaps in tackling the cases and deaths from malaria. Annually, more than half a million lives are still lost to the preventable disease despite the declines in malaria cases and deaths since 2000.
“It’s even a thing of joy that in the last few years, we have been able to reduce the number of deaths from malaria to 54 per cent in children worldwide because any death at all by malaria saddens any family.
There is therefore need to improve on what we have been able to achieve and that is why we feel we should continue the malaria awareness in the grassroots,” says Dr Babajide Puddicombe, President, Malaria Society of Nigeria (MSN). Dr Puddicombe highlighted the need to urgently address the gaps in preventive treatment for malaria during the society’s community outreach, free screening for malaria and free distribution of mosquito nets and malaria drugs at Ado-Odo, Ota, Ogun State.
The outreach was in collaboration with the Primary Health Care Department of Ado-Odo, Ota. “With about 100 million cases of malaria per year and about 300000 deaths mainly children under 5 years, Nigeria has the highest malaria fatalities in the world. I believe in more efforts on awareness campaign and getting to the nooks and crannies of this country, we can still get the death from malaria further down by intensifying efforts on malaria programme.” He said, the pregnant women and children under 5 are the most vulnerable group in malaria-endemic areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
“When women are pregnant, their immunity is reduced, also children under 5 don’t have enough immunity against malaria attack and that is why we clamour for them to know what is going on and advise them on what to do to avoid malaria. An adult may have malaria and it may not be fertile but when malaria attacks a pregnant woman, it can affect the unborn child.”