By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI—EBONYI State government yesterday, said 60 per cent of hospital attendance in the state was caused by malaria and its negative effects on the people of the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezurike, who stated this in Abakaliki, while briefing newsmen on activities mapped out to mark the 2018 World Malaria Day in the state added that the dreaded disease was also responsible for morbidity in pregnant women and children less than five years old.
“In Nigeria and Ebonyi, over 60 per cent of hospital attendance is caused by malaria and a major cause of morbidity in pregnant women and children less than five years,” he said.
According to him, the theme of the year’s celebration: “Ready to Beat Malaria” has the key objective to increase awareness on malaria disease, encourage the use of proven intervention measures for malaria control and sensitise the government towards increased political will and support to roll back malaria interventions.
Umezurike called on pregnant women to ensure they visit health care facilities across the state as the state government through the State’s Ministry of Health had provided some anti-malaria drugs free of charge to the entire populace especially pregnant women and children in the State.
He said: “Provision of free anti-malaria drugs like Sulphadoxine-Pyrithamine, SP for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy resulting to a coverage level of 44 per cent of pregnant women accessing SP, a second to the highest position in the South East zone in 2015.”
“Provision of regular government cash contribution and enabling policies and environment to attract more donor support to malaria and other health programs. Ensuring an informed budget line and release for malaria control activities of the state and LGAs estimates; creation of additional funding opportunity for malaria controls activities in the state through the saving-one-million lives program for result.
“The celebration offers an opportunity for malaria-endemic and malaria-free countries to recount and learn about the devastating consequences of the disease and for new donors to join the Global partnership against malaria. It’s also a chance for countries in malaria affected regions to increase awareness on the malaria disease and hence win more political will and support from Government towards the disease.”