By Gabriel Enogholase, Benin-city
ILAJE Local Government Area of Ondo State, with its headquarters in Igbokoda, is a riverine area. Chevron Plc recently embarked on the “Prevention of Malaria in Pregnancy Project” in the local government.
The project was funded by the oil giant under its Roll Back Malaria portfolio.
The project, launched in September 2014, ended February 28, 2015 and focused on delivery intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy in 35 health facilities in Ilaje.
While the goal of the project was to contribute to reducing malaria burden to pre- elimination level and malaria related mortality to zero level, it was also to provide at least 80 percent of pregnant women in the area with appropriate preventive.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the end of the programme at Igbokoda, the representative of AFRICARE, which implemented the programme on behalf of Chevron Plc, Dr. Patrick Adah, described the scheme as laudable. He said Ondo State had been one of the beneficiaries of the project aimed at preventing malaria.
Topics covered include signs and symptoms of malaria, burden and intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with focus on antenatal care services, he said.
On the burden of malaria in pregnancy, Adah disclosed that approximately 45million pregnant women live in malariuos area, with 23million of them in sub Sahara Africa. He explained that 6million Nigerian women are pregnant yearly while malaria in pregnancy accounts for 15 percent maternal anaemia and 30 percent low birth.
According to him, the lesson learnt during the programme in Ilaje included high malaria incidence observed in remote communities from 24-76 percent, cases of entire family members testing positive for malaria and reduction of malaria cases in some areas.
Adah said that during the four months programme, 4902 people were reached with malaria interventions including test with RDTs, treatment with ACTs and LLINs just as pregnant women who had not attended Anti Natal Clinics (ANC) received the first dose of SP (IPTI), 12 received second dose of SP (IPT2) and 2 received IPT3.
He disclosed that 27,750 doses of Sulfadoxine Pyrimethamine (SP) were procured for distribution to the intervention facilities. He advised all pregnant women to ensure that they receive three doses of Sulfadoxine Pyrimethamine (SP) after discovering that they were four months pregnant and space then at least one month interval.
The Africare representative expressed gratitude to the Ondo government and the Ilaje local government for its assistance during the programme.
Some of the pregnant women who benefited from the programme lauded Chevron for bringing the programme to their local government.