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Malaria kills 279 in Zimbabwe amid COVID-19 pandemic

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At least 279 people have died and more than 300,000 people have been infected with malaria in Zimbabwe since the peak season of the the disease in January.

The outbreak comes at a time when Zimbabwe is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic which has since infected 574 people leading to seven fatalities.

Zimbabwe’s National Malaria Coordinator Joseph Mberi said Tuesday that COVID-19 social distancing restrictions had deterred many people especially in rural areas to seek medical attention in time, further complicating the situation.

Mberi said the COVID-19 outbreak had also forced health workers to be skeptical in dealing with people presenting malaria symptoms which are similar to the pandemic.

He said the coronavirus pandemic was a hindrance to early testing and treatment because health workers did not have adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

“In other areas we have village health workers who are supposed to treat but those have been affected by the restrictions of social distancing as they are afraid. We still have a challenge of adequate PPE in the country so that is the context,” he said.

Malaria is among the top causes of illness and deaths in Zimbabwe, with over half of the population living in high-risk areas.

Transmission of the disease in the country is seasonal and mainly occurs during the rainy season between November and April.

(XINHUA)

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Health

Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention: Borno, WHO deploy 8,000 community health workers

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Borno Government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO) has deployed no fewer than 8,000 community health workers for the ongoing Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention in the state.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, disclosed this in a statement posted on its website.

The UN health agency said the health workers were deployed to deliver Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) to about two million children aged three to 59 months.

SMC is the intermittent administration of full treatment courses of an antimalarial medicine amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine.

The objective is to maintain therapeutic antimalarial drug concentrations in the blood throughout the period of greatest malarial risk.

According to the agency, the health workers deployed include drug administrators, recorders, supervisors and monitors as well as community leaders.

The main objective of the campaign is to protect children from malaria during this year’s peak transmission season.

“During a walk-through flag-off of the exercise, the Borno State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Kadafur stated that government is committed to improving the health of its citizens.

“The government is committed to improving the health of its citizens by partnering with relevant organisations and agencies especially WHO, to implement evidence-based interventions like the SMC.

“Although, Borno is still tackling the outbreak of COVID-19 which has affected nearly 600 persons, in 11 local government areas, it is equally urgent and essential to tackle malaria which is a major killer of children in the state,” it said.

Through the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), WHO received funding from the Global Fund to reach approximately two million children living in 25 LGAs of Borno with the SMC.

Since 2017, WHO has been supporting the SMC implementation in Borno as part of the North East humanitarian response.

Data from the Early Warning and Alert Response Surveillance systems shows that malaria accounts for more than 50 per cent of sicknesses and deaths in children under five in the state,

This situation increases during the four-month peak transmission season, July to October every year.

According to the statement, the door to door campaign, which is the first of the four cycles for 2020, is being implemented in 201 political wards across 25 accessible local government areas of Borno state.

“It focuses on antimalarial drug distribution, community sensitisation and awareness creation, risk communication and social mobilization as well as referral of sick people for facility care,’’ the agency added.

It said that the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, also flagged off the campaign by administering the anti-malaria drug to a number of eligible children.

He urged the government and partners to ensure that internally displaced persons were not left out of the campaign since they are the most exposed, living in make-shift tents and unprotected from mosquito bites.

According to WHO National Consultant, Malaria in Emergencies, Dr Ini Abass Nglass, SMC has proved to be effective in reducing the prevalence of malaria in children.

She said, “SMC delivery will be conducted during peak rainy season (July -October) using the house- to- house strategy to ensure that all children between 3 months and 59 months receive the medication.”

Giving effective antimalarial treatment at monthly intervals during this period has been shown to be 75 per cent protective against uncomplicated and severe malaria in children under five years of age.

———

Edited By: Olawunmi Ashafa/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Health

Kano Govt, Malaria Consortium to spend N3 bn on prevention campaign

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Kano State Government in partnership with the Malaria Consortium have earmarked about N3 billion for malaria prevention activities in the state.

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje, made the disclosure at the inauguration of the seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention campaign, on Sunday in Bichi Local Government Area of the state.

Ganduje also inaugurated the Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) week targeting  2,835,462 children for immunisation.

He said the state government accorded priority to the prevention and control of malaria as well as other child killer diseases.

The governor said: “Malaria is one of the diseases bedeviling societies of Tropical Africa. We cannot afford to lose this fight against Malaria.”

Ganduje noted that while the global attention was shifted to the control of COVID-19 pandemic, the state government came up with sound health programmes focusing on other diseases.

While calling on pregnant mothers to participate in the exercise to protect their children against diseases, Ganduje called on the people to support government’s policies and programmes aimed at transforming healthcare service delivery.

Also speaking, the state Commissioner of Health, Dr Aminu Tsanyawa, said that MNCH week would be conducted in the 44 Local Government Areas (LGAs)of the state.

Tsanyawa explained that the exercise was designed to be conducted in four days per month between July and October.

He said that  new regime of malaria drug would be administered to the children during the exercise. (NAN )

MNT /

Oropo

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Health

Malaria prevention programme: 2 million children targeted in Borno – WHO

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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 to 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 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.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

 

 

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Health

Kwara govt urges traditional rulers to support campaign against malaria infection

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Dr Raji Razaq, Kwara Commissioner for Health, has urged traditional rulers in the state to join the campaign for the use of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN).

Razaq made the call in a statement by the ministry’s Press Secretary, Mr Gbenga Tayo and made available to newsmen in Ilorin on Thursday.

According to the statement, Razaq had visited the district of Lanwa, Saadu and Jebba in the Northern part of the state to seek the traditional institution’s support in the fight against malaria.

Represented by an official of the ministry, Mr Abdullahi Nageri, the commissioner said that the message about using LLIN to tackle malaria infections would penetrate better if traditional rulers joined the campaign.

The commissioner said that the state government was committed toward quality healthcare delivery to the people of Kwara.

Razaq said the insecticide-treated nets would be distributed to residents of the state through the support of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Global Fund Project.

“The entire essence is to prevent malaria. Let us be informed that malaria can be prevented if we use the nets correctly.

“We urge all traditional rulers in the state to join this year’s campaign on insecticide-treated nets usage. Always educate community people about it; it is in their interest,” he said.

The District Head of Lanwa, Saadu and Jebba, Alhaji Aliu Olarongbe commended the state government’s efforts in tackling malaria infection in the state.

He said that the Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led government had demonstrated strong will to deliver quality healthcare services in the state.

Olarongbe said the traditional institution would support all government activities geared toward boosting the people’s health and welfare.

Edited By: Azubuike Okeh/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

 

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Health

Malaria: Kwara Govt begins advocacy visits to traditional leaders

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Dr Raji Razaq, the Kwara Commissioner for Health, on Tuesday commenced advocacy visits to traditional leaders in Ilorin on the forthcoming 2020 Net campaign in the state.

The commissioner, who was represented by Alhaji Abdullahi Nageri, the Programme Manager, Malaria Elimination Programme, assured the traditional rulers at a meeting in Ilorin of the state government commitment to curbing Malaria in the state by reducing it to minimal level.

He stated that all relevant funds to make the exercise a successful one has been released and that the state was set to kickstart the distribution of Long Lasting Insecticidal Net.

Razaq urged the traditional leaders to help sensitise the people of their communities on the importance of the insecticide treated nets and the need to use the nets as directed.

According to him, malaria still constitute great threat to people, particularly pregnant women and children in the community.

Razaq also commended the traditional leaders for taking their time to attend to the health team for the sensitisation.

Mr Femi Olatunbosun, the Chairman of the Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation Core Group, explained that this year’s net campaign would be conducted house-to-house.

Olatunbosun appealed for the full support and cooperation of the traditional leaders and members of their communities for the success of the campaign, adding that serious monitoring is needed from the traditional leaders for a smooth exercise.

Responding, Alhaji Adebayo Mohammed, the Balogun Gambari of Ilorin, commended the efforts of the health team in reducing malaria in the communities and assured them of the traditional institution support.

Mohammed said that they would commence the mobilisation of their communities on preventive measures.

Also speaking, the Magaji Are of Ilorin, Alhaji Aremu Suberu, appreciated the Abdulrazaq’s administration for the net campaign and reiterated the commitment of the traditional leaders to ensure the success of the programme.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other traditional rulers who declared support for the programme included the Balogun Ajikobi of Ilorin, Balogun Alanamu, and Balogun Fulani of Ilorin.

Edited By: Yakubu Uba/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

Global Fund grants over 82 mln USD to Angola to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria

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The Global Fund will provide over the next three years 82.6 million United States dollars to Angola to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, said the Angolan Health Ministry after a meeting with the fund on Tuesday.

Mark Edington, head of the Global Fund grant management, announced that the grant will be available as soon as the country submits a request for financing, according to a statement by the ministry.

During the video conference, Angolan Health Minister Silvia Lutucuta presented the progress of a roadmap signed between the two sides in January 2020, said the statement.

The roadmap contains measures to strengthen the partnership between the Global Fund and Angola.

Edington confirmed the Global Fund’s satisfaction with Angola’s progress in implementing the main reforms of the roadmap, the statement said.

The Global Fund is an international financial organization created in January 2002, with the aim of raising and distributing resources to prevent and treat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

(XINHUA)

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General news

NGO partners AU Council on malaria control

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The Free Health Care Charitable Organisation (FHCCO), a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), in affiliation with Malaria Prophylaxis Initiative–MPI-Consortium frica, will soon launch a new innovative approach to malaria prevention and control.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the innovation, which is expected to cover the entire African continent, is being executed in partnership with the Africa Union Economic Social and Cultural Council (AU- ECOSOCC)p>

A statement signed by Malchain Africa Co-ordinator, Chief Abu Ali, said on Saturday in Abuja that the Malaria Clinic Free Services Programme aimed at controlling the scourge, would be launched in August.

According to him, the malaria clinic programme is targeted at eliminating malaria in Africa, a success that will  enhance the achievement of the AU Agenda 2063, while addressing maternal and child mortality.

Ali stressed that the exercise would run full free accessible programmes for all ages on clinical days only.

“The malaria clinic is established in consonance with the disease control policy of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in achieving Nationwide Malaria Free Society, Malaria Free Nigeria and Africa Zero Malaria.

“It will cover free services in the clinic including prevention/intervention programme, case management service, laboratory services, consultation, counselling, M and E programme, capacity building, training, advocacy, data plan and research.”

Alli said that the malaria clinic programme would certainly provide the desired objectives of the government in partnership with other donor bodies and development partners.

“An antidote to this project realisation is the implementation of the new innovative technology approach on malaria prevention/control in Nigeria and Africa,” the statement said.

It explained that the methodology is the mosquito repellent patch, a hi-tech product with the efficacy of repelling biting anthropoid for up to 36 hours in 36 metres radius from the user.

It added that the method had already been tried in Kogi, Kaduna, Edo, Enugu, Lagos and FCT, with 100 per cent success and impressive outcomes.

“The new technology product was registered by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and has no known side effects.

“The users in the field have not established any side effect or toxic reaction after its usage over five years ago in Nigeria and other African Countries.

“The product is safe for pregnant women, children under the age of five, and the elderly.

“The treatment is also useful in the fight against the novel COVID-19 pandemic as well as other low immune virus infections.

 “The programme in Nigeria targets the SDGs 2030 and the health agenda of the President Mohammed Buhari-led administration,” he added.

The coordinator emphasised the benefit of the malaria clinic project on the economy, health, environment, job creation and general social welfare of Nigerians, as well as the rural and urban poor populace of Africa.

Edited By: Angela Okisor and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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Health

Malaria killing more patients afraid to patronize hospital because of COVID-19 – NGO

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Some medical experts in Kaduna said on Friday that the  current deaths in the state were largely due to the scourge of Malaria, as patients fear going to hospitals because of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Dr Firima August and Mrs Olukemi Adeyoju both of Malaria Consortium made the revelations during a biannual media briefing.

The briefing was on Global Fund Malaria Accountability and Advocacy Project organised by Civil Society in Malaria Control, lmmunisation and Nutrition, (ACOMIN) held  in Kaduna on Friday.

The duo who attended the ‘focus media meeting at state level’, while responding to newsmen, said many have died silently of Malaria fever in their various homes out of  fear of going for test in hospital and be misunderstood for COVID-19.

They noted that in a Malaria ravaged country like Nigeria, many communities have shied away from going to health facilities or hospital for Malaria test.

According to them, the fear is that while on the test they could contract COVID-19 and be quarantined even if they test positive to Malaria or something else.

“What’s prominent now is COVID-19, but it is very important to let people to be aware of Malaria and that is why a lot of people are actually dying now of malaria, not COVID-19.

” And do you know why they are dying, the symptoms of COVID-19 and malaria are very similar, so they don’t want to go to health facilities for test.

“We’re encouraging them to go but they’ll prefer self medication and that’s mortality, death.

“They don’t want to go for test because the symptoms are similar. The fear is that if it is not malaria, it’ll be something else.

“When they see the symptoms they get scared thinking it is COVID-19, they don’t want to go to the facilities and get tested because they don’t want to be isolated.”

The duo noted that even health workers were also running away from patients out of fear.

them because if they see the signs they would be scared because they cannot   handle it.

“We will like to suggest that government put more efforts on Malaria testing than COVID-19,”

Earlier, the State Programme Officer of ACOMIN, Mr Ogidi Nicodemus said the national network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)is working with five local government areas and 16 Community Based Organisations, (CBOs) in Kaduna State.

He said as part of national efforts to address the challenges of Malaria in Nigeria, ACOMIN had been engaged by Catholic Relief Services, under the ongoing Global Fund Malaria grant to implement the civil society component, with focuse on accountability for commodity utilisation, value for money, budgetary appropriation and Human resource development.

According to Nicodemus, ACOMIN  has recorded some five achievements in Kaduna State through advocacy since it was established in May 2019.

The CBOs Kaduna representatives at the media collaborative meeting, however, tabled some complaints ranging from shortage of staff in health facilities to poor infrastructures among others .

It also recommended that environmental Sanitary officers be reintroduced to enforce environmental sanitation to reduce incidences of mosquito induced malaria in dirty homes.

The organisation canvassed for penalty against any family found not using treated mosquito nets henceforth.

It also sought for improved funding for Malaria control  in the state.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Health

Malaria: Kwara inaugurates c’ttee on insecticide-treated nets

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The Kwara government has inaugurated a coordinating committee on malaria eradication through the distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets.

Speaking at the inauguration on Thursday in Ilorin, the Kwara Commissioner for Health, Dr Raji Razaq, explained that the state government was mindful of the health of citizens.

He noted that government  had chosen to tackle the challenges of malaria alongside the war against the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

Raji urged members of the committee to work hard in order to sustain the leading position of the state in health care delivery in the country.

He also called on the committee members to be proactive in discharging their responsibilities in order to achieve the desired outcome.

Also speaking, Prof. Olugbenga Mokuolu, Technical Director, National Malaria Elimination Programme, commended Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq on his commitment toward revamping the healthcare system in the state.

Mokuolu urged the committee members to remain committed to the purpose of ensuring malaria was controlled in the state.

He appealed to them to be part of those projecting the good image of the state government.

According to him, the campaign this year will be technologically driven while distribution of the nets will be on house-to-house basis.

Mokuolu appealed to project partners and other stakeholders to cooperate with the leadership of the Ministry of Health to ensure a successful campaign.

He  congratulated the state malaria elimination team for the great achievements recorded so far.

Mr Zakaria Musa, the representative of the National Malaria Elimination Programme, said Kwara would  be the first state to commence the campaign in North Central Zone.

The committee members included Dr Abubakar Ayinla, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Michael Oguntoye, Acting Executive Secretary, Kwara State Primary Health Care Development Agency and Dr Oluwatosin Fakayode, Director of Public Health among others.

(
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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