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‘300,000 Nigerian children die annually of malaria’

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By George Onah
Port Harcourt—About 300,000 Nigerian children die of malaria annually, while the disease also accounts for 30 million clinically diagnosed cases as well as 60 percent out-patients visits, the National Malaria Control Project, Federal Ministry of Health, has said.

Speaking in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at a two-day health training for journalists, Head, Advocacy Communication and Social Mobilization of the ministry, Mrs Florence Ewoigbokhan, said malaria deaths in Sub-Sahara Africa showed that, 3000 people die daily as a result of malaria attacks.

Further to this, Ewoigbokhan said WHO demographic and epidemiologic models for malaria incidence estimation in endemic areas indicate that about seven in ten pregnant women suffer from malaria.

Disclosing the grim statistics, she said  “ it shows that every year 11 percent deaths, which occur during pregnancy, were due to malaria, translating into between one and two in every 10 deaths caused by the disease.

At the training, which was organised in collaboration with the Rivers State Malaria Booster Project of the health ministry, she said malaria contributes to maternal anaemia, low birth weight and other complications in pregnancy, such as still birth, pre-term delivery and abortion.

The social mobilization officer begged non-governmental organisations, media, corporate bodies and stakeholders across the country to join hands in the fight against malaria to achieve the target of the MDGs in 2010.

On her part, the Programme Manager, Malaria Control Dr. Justina Jumbo, said the state government had purchased and distributed one million insecticide treated bed nets and about 3.1 million doses of anti-malaria drugs for pregnant women and other categories of persons.

A communiqué after the training called for an intensive enlightenment campaign on the effect of malaria, formation of monitoring task force to monitor the effective distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets.

It announced that the roll back malaria project of the state ministry of health should collaborate with relevant ministries of environment, local councils, education and NOA to educate the people on environmental management.

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