World Malaria Day: Kwara Govt to commence free provision of malaria drugs

The Kwara Government says the state is set to enjoy global fund support for free provision of malaria drugs and Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLNI) across its 16 local government areas.

Dr Abubakar Ayinla, the Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Health, said this during a news conference  on Friday to mark the World Malaria Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Malaria Day is an international observance commemorated every year on 25 April.

It also recognizes global efforts to control malaria.

He listed some of the drugs to include Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT), Injection Artesunate and LLNI, among others.

Ayinla said that this was the government’s investment in health care, and overall commitment to sustaining service delivery in the health sector.

He also said that Kwara is one of the states to gain from the malaria elimination programme.

According to him, this dedicated approach has equally fetched multiple opportunities of partaking in proven and recommended interventions by World Health Organisation (WHO) for the control of malaria.

Ayinla noted that in 2020, the state received over 2.3 million Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets, worth over N3.3 billion, and were distributed to every household across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state where over 5,000 of citizens were gainfully engaged in different positions which ensures the success of the campaign.

The permanent secretary said that the state would be introducing, for the first time, another intervention for the malaria elimination, called the Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC).

“This approach implies intermittent administration of full treatment courses of anti-malaria medicine during the malaria season to prevent malarial illness with the objective of maintaining therapeutic antimalarial drug concentrations in the blood throughout the period of greatest malarial risk.

“This activity is targeted at children, aged three month to 59 months, and shall commence in July 2021 with door to door administration of free potent and efficacious anti-malarial drugs,” he said.

Ayinla said that the Global fund provision of the commodities is to the tune of over N2 billion.

Also speaking, Dr Issa Kawu, Programme Manager Global Fund, explained that the fund was geared toward fighting HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria which is presently supporting about 13 States across Nigeria to the rune of US$ 404 million.

Kawu explained that Kwara and Gombe states were exceptional and emerged best states after competitive exercise as criteria.

Kawu commended Kwara and Gombe states for being the foremost recipients of the Global fund.

According to him, the successful implementation of grants is the only criteria for others to join.

Alhaji Nageri Abdullahi, the Programme Manager, State Malaria Elimination Programme, explained that the state had earlier distributed LLNI across the state.

Abdullahi said that the SMC would be administered to children under five years of age, while those who test positive for malaria would be administered ACT.

He also said that other malarial medications are free of charge across the 339 Public health centres.

Abdullahi added that no child would be left out of the exercise and advised parents to make their children available to achieve zero malaria in Kwara. (NAN)