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Children are most at risk of malaria infection, says SFH

Abuja – The  Society for Family Health (SFH) on Wednesday said that 55 per cent of malaria infection mostly affected children from the ages of six months to five years.

Mr Bright Ekweremadu, Managing Director, Society for Family Health, who spoke during a media tour in Abuja, said that three out of 10 deaths among children were caused by malaria.

Ekweremadu, who was represented by the Chief Technical Officer SFH, Mr Obi Oluigbo, said that malaria, which is transmitted by female anopheline mosquitoes was responsible for fevers in children and adults.

He said that in commemoration of the World Malaria Day, the organisation was partnering with the National Malaria Control Programme to provide effective interventions to reduce malaria infection in the FCT.

According to him, the SFH encourages the use of long lasting insecticide treated nets, and maintaining clean surroundings in the communities, also to ensure that pregnant women attend ante-natal clinics.

“Pregnant women should ensure they attend ante-natal clinics where they can access Intermittent Preventive Treatment.

“Also to ensure that these women and their unborn babies, including children below five years are sleeping under treated nets, to reduce mortality caused by malaria,” he said.

Also speaking, Dr Diwe Ekweremadu, of the National Malaria Control Programme, advised that necessary diagnosis or tests should be carried out before treatment, to ascertain the actual problem.

The doctor said that testing before treatment was because not every fever was malaria; hence as soon as a child had fever the first thing that should be done was a test.

“So as soon as a child or an adult has fever first thing we advocate is test, if it turns out to be malaria then you can treat with Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT).

“ACT is a combination therapy that has been shown to be very effective,” he said.

He said that malaria could be prevented through the regular use of long lasting insecticide treated nets, adding that it would help to reduce contact with mosquitoes.

He also advised that the environment should be kept clean, clearing of bushes, to ensure that mosquitoes did not breed around the area.

None of the five intervention centres visited at Karmo in the FCT, had insecticide treated nets to distribute to the patients, especially the pregnant women.

Mrs Cathrine Adejoh, the Principal Community Head, Primary Health Care, Gwagwa Karmo, said interventions were given to the centre to administer free to children below five years.

Adejoh said the programme was sponsored by the Global Fund and partners, including the SFH and that there were a lot of malaria drugs given free to children.

She said the intervention for malaria was very effective, adding that malaria could not be totally cured if the environment was not clean, hence the need to keep it clean always.

“In a week we can have not less than 25 children with malaria.

“We do not have free malaria treatment for pregnant women, previously we gave them free, but now we prescribe drugs for them to buy,” she said.

The Society for Family Health is a non-governmental organisation, giving interventions in various fields of health, including child survival, malaria prevention and treatment, HIV and AIDS prevention among others. (NAN)


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