By: MUKHTAR YAHAYA SHEHU
The Kano State Government has joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Malaria Day on April 25th of every year. This day, is an internationally recognized and set aside by the World Health Assembly to commemorate our reflective effort towards malaria eradication as one of our major public health challenges in our dear state, the country, and indeed the world at large.
In a statement signed by the Director public health and Disease Control state ministry of health on be half of Commissioner Dr. Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa said this important day serves as an avenue for providing malaria education and understanding of its prevention and transmission modes, highlighting the global journey towards malaria eradication, and celebrating the gains made since the year 2000. The world is on track to meet the goal of reversing malaria incidences to zero.
Furthermore, the world has made historic progress in the malaria fight, saving about 2 billion malaria cases and 11.7 million malaria deaths globally in 2000–2021. Most of the cases (82%) and deaths (95%) that were averted in the WHO African Region, even though half of the world is still living at risk of this preventable and treatable disease that continues to have a devastating effect on the livelihood of people around the world and costs a child’s life every two minutes. This year’s World Malaria Day theme marked under its “Time to Deliver Zero Malaria: Invest, Innovate, and Implement”. The theme highlights the need for urgent action and further investment to ensure investments made to deliver maximum impact in the fight to end malaria.
“You may wish to be aware that, according to the World Malaria Report 2023, a global estimate of malaria cases in the eighty-four (84) malaria endemic countries was put at 247 million, with an increase of 2 million cases when compared to the 2000 and 2020 figures and over 95% of the cases are in the African-region, with Nigeria contributing 27%. And again, about 96% of malaria deaths globally were in (29) countries, of which Nigeria constitutes 31.3% and globally, malaria deaths has reduced steadily over the period 2000–2019, from 897 000 in 2000 to 577 000 in 2015 and to 568 000 in 2019.” Dr. Rajab said
In Kano, it’s in the records that, malaria is the most single common reason for about 60 percent of outpatient visitation and consultation. It is recorded that in the year 2022 alone, more than 3 million hospital visits were due to the menace of malaria, despite the fact that it’s a preventable disease. In economic terms, malaria morbidity and mortality have led to the loss of billions of Naira in drugs, non-school and work attendance, hospital stay, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
In the year 2022, the outpatient attendance relating to malarial cases was 3,096,401 with total fever cases screened for malaria recorded at 3,051,213 and 2,230,752 diagnosed to have confirmed uncomplicated malaria and 2,201,284 (98.6%) confirmed cases treated free with ACTs.
To address these challenges, the Kano State Government has placed a high priority on saving the lives of women and children through strengthening the health care system at all levels of care, such as primary and secondary, and supporting tertiary facilities in the state. This commitment is recognised by providing adequate funds for malaria elimination interventions across the state.
It is worthy of note that, between July and October of the year 2022, the state government, in collaboration with its implementing partners, has spent more than 3 billion naira in the administration of 10,629,624 doses of malaria prevention drugs (Sulfadoxime-pyrimethamine and Amodiaquine SP+AQ) with the aim of preventing uncomplicated and a similar proportion of severe malaria deaths incidents among the under-five (5 years) children. This show casing the government’s commitment to fight against malaria through seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), an on-going project from 2020-date.
In the same vein, the government, in collaboration with development partners, has distributed more than 8.8 million insecticidal-treated nets during the just concluded 2022 ITN mass replacement campaign worth 11 billion naira for free to the Kano teaming populace for malaria prevention strategies. On this note, I want to call on the public to ensure they air the net under the shade for 24 hours (1 day) before first use and make sure the nets are not hung in a place with direct sunlight or wet, as well as sleep inside the net every night with open windows for proper ventilation.
Accordingly, the government has procured anti-malarial commodities, supported personnel capacity-building, and cascaded trainings for prompt malaria diagnosis and treatment, malaria prevention, community case management, focused antenatal care and health education, advocacy communication and social mobilization, and vector management (fumigation and larviciding-LSM) worth over 462 million in order to combat and eliminate malaria across the state. These commodities and capacity building include:
Anti-malarial drugs, provided at no cost to various health facilities.
Malaria rapid diagnostic kits (mRDTs) supplied to the health facilities.
Pregnant women receive free malaria prevention drugs (SP).
Routine Long-lasting insecticidal treated nets for pregnant women and children.
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, community health workers, PPMVs, CPs were trained in malaria diagnosis and treatment according to recently reviewed National guidelines.
Furthermore, I would like to reaffirm the government’s commitment towards improving the health care system in the state by earmarking 10% of the Kano Health Trust Fund (KHETFUND) for the fight against malaria and reducing the burden associated with the disease.
In view of the success recorded above, political commitment to continued investment for malaria elimination in the state, malaria prevalence among U5 children in the recent Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey (NMIS 2021) has shown a decrease in malaria burden from 32.4% to 26% when compared with the previous survey figures; 27% (NMIS 2015) to 32.4% in the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS 2018), which is higher than the national average of 23%.
At this juncture, I would like to draw the attention of everyone to the fact that the government alone cannot win the war against this dreaded disease without the partnership of the private sector and our dear communities. The private sector can assist in fighting malaria by creating awareness and funding malaria elimination initiatives, while individuals and communities can contribute to our collective efforts to fight malaria by keeping their environment clean, as it is the breeding site for mosquitoes.
The Ministry of Health is grateful to the KNSG for the tremendous support it enjoys not only in malaria but in all other health interventions, with a number of initiatives, projects, and interventions being implemented in this sector.
Lastly, I wish to thank all the media houses, who have been one of our strongest partners, in the fight against malaria and host of other health interventions. The Ministry is indeed grateful.
God bless the people of Kano.
God bless Kano State.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.