The National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), has said that about 13 million eligible children were reached with the Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) initiative in nine states in the country.
The states include Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.
National Coordinator, NMEP, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed, made the disclosure at the 2nd 2020 Bi-annual Media Chat in Abuja.
SMC is a malaria preventive measure targeting children between three and 59 months of age within the Sahel region.
According to Mohammed, "Available records from the District Health Information System (DHIS) showed a monthly average of 2,241,653 fever cases that reported at the health facilities nationally, of which 1,988,254 (88%) were tested. Of the tested cases, 1,468,110 cases were positive and 1,447,233 (99%) of these were treated with anti-malaria.
"Correspondingly, in 2019 the records indicated a monthly national average of 2,337,794 fever cases that reported at the health facilities of which 2,117,783 (91%) were tested, and of the 1,645,770 that were positive 1,543,789 (94%) were treated with anti-malaria, which represented a slightly higher number of fever and malaria cases seen in 2019 compared to 2020."
On Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), the National Coordinator informed that the programme had planned to replace over 31.5 million ITNs to cover 56.7 million people across eleven states of Adamawa, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Enugu, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Osun, and Zamfara. Except for States without donor support like Bayelsa, Borno, Enugu and FCT.
However, he said over 17 million ITNs were distributed in the six states with some achieving the 95vper cent target.
On challenges, he identified stigma and fear that tended to hinder individuals from attending health facilities as part of the challenges.
Others, according to him were "Abiding by preventive guidelines motorists decreased number of passengers and increased the transport fares further alienating some who could not afford the charges.
"Health workers required additional resources to protect themselves from COVID-19. Impact of the lock down on access to interventions. Supplies of commodities suffered severe disruptions with several health facilities experiencing stock-outs for relatively long times."