• Kebbi, Bayelsa to serve as pilot states

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), has disclosed that the first batch of malaria vaccine being anticipated will arrive Nigeria before the end of this year, if all things work as planned.

NMEP said that, expectedly, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) will handle the necessary logistics, and will also facilitate the deployment of the vaccines to Kebbi, Bayelsa and few other high burden states which will be used as pilot states.

NMEP National Coordinator, Dr. Godwin Ntadom, told journalists at a media interaction in Abuja, on Tuesday, that arrangements have been on top gear to ensure the vaccines arrive Nigeria safely.

He was optimistic that deployment of the vaccine, in addition to upscaled approaches, would help in the fight against malaria, and possibly assist in bringing down malaria prevalence in Nigeria to, at least, 10 per cent.

He said: “Nigeria has subscribed to malaria vaccine, and the first batch of the consignment will arrive Nigeria soon, and will be immediately deployed to states that would serve as pilot states. Afterwards, it will be extended to other states for effective coverage.”

The NMEP Coordinator confirmed that malaria prevalence is on steady decline as shown in available data, thus, urging Nigerians to up their precautionary measures to assist in the fight, and also protect themselves from the dangers of the malaria.

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“Currently, malaria prevalence is very high in Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto States. This because they grow rice in large quantities, and also have dams, while the case is low in states like Lagos, Kwara, among few others. But as the rains prepare to come, we have taken adequate measures to ensure there’s no spike in cases.

“We have commenced the implementation of preventive strategies in response to seasonal
malaria outbreak in Nigeria under the platform of the Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC). This preventive response is in anticipation of rainy season during which transmission of malaria is high, particularly among children of certain age bracket.

“SMC is a drug-based intervention where children between 3 to 59 months are given anti-malaria solutions like Amodiaquine and similar drugs to prevent them from coming down with malaria during the peak of transmission.

“These children, because of their undeveloped immunity, are at risk of having high severity, and more likely to die of malaria than adults. So, the intervention helps to prevent them from coming down with malaria,” he explained.


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