Dr Injabasi Nglas, World Health Organisation (WHO) National Coordinator for Malaria Programme in Emergencies, says over two million children are being targeted for the ongoing four-day house-to-house Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Campaign in Borno State.
Nglas disclosed this at the inauguration of the programme on Saturday in Maiduguri.
She explained that the house-to-house administration of anti-malaria drug was for children from age three to 59 months and would take place in all the 25 accessible Local Government Areas of the state.
“As we all know, malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria and Borno State is not left out.
“Coupled with the insurgency on ground, a lot of children missed opportunities of proper health services. In this part of the country, rainfall is seasonal and this programme is scheduled to happen during peak rainfall to protect children between three and 59 months from malaria.
“This programme is not only done in Borno but also in eight other states but in Borno the WHO is taking the lead, working with the state government with support from Global Fund,” Nglas said.
She noted that all necessary arrangements had been made including deployment of personnel and drugs to all wards in local government areas to ensure the success of the exercise.
“We are also tracking the teams to be sure that areas mapped out for each day is actually covered; we are using the e-tracker and at the end of each day we have a review meeting,” Nglas said.
Also, Dr Aishatu Gubio, the Borno Lead for National Malaria Elimination Programme, said similar house-to-house administration of the anti malaria drugs to children would be done in August, September and October.
Gubio said other states located in the sahel benefiting from the malaria programme include Bauchi, Jigawa, Yobe, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kano and Katsina.
In his remarks, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Elkanemi, lauded the development and urged all parents to make maximum use of the opportunity by availing their children for the anti malaria drug.
Elkanemi also urged those executing the programme not to forget the children in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and settlements across the state.
Similarly, the Deputy Governor of Borno, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, commended all stakeholders involved in the exercise, particularly WHO for its series of interventions in the state.
Kadafur urged parents to avail their children for the timely programme to save them from malaria, a leading killer of children.
A parent, Maryam Abubakar, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the programme was a big relief for most of them, adding that they support and participate fully in order to save their children from the danger of malaria.
“Malaria is not something to joke with and we are happy with this development and set to participate fully.
“During polio immunisation, many of us complained of malaria as our problem and today here is one solution to malaria,” Abubakar said.