By Doris Obinna
No fewer than 700,000 people are being diagnosed annually with malaria disease in Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi, commissioner for health, said in a statement, yesterday, in Lagos in celebration of the 2021 World Malaria Day.
The commissioner who said malaria accounts for more than 70 per cent of outpatient in the public health facilities restated the commitment of government to collective efforts towards effective control of the scourge.
“Malaria is prevalent in the vulnerable groups – children under five years and pregnant women where the infection can be profoundly more severe,” he said.
He said the state topography and ecological features, vast coastal terrain, rapid urbanisation and poor drainages were major predisposing factors that contributed to transmission of malaria all year round.
The commissioner said government over the years had demonstrated continued commitment to the control of malaria through various strategies. He listed the strategies as promotion of Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) utilisation, prevention of malaria in pregnancy using Intermittent Preventive Treatment with Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine. Others are prompt diagnosis in the public healthcare facilities, using malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (mRDT) kits or microscopy.
Abayomi said the state also used effective case management with Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy drugs (ACTs) for patients diagnosed with malaria.
He said awareness and sensitisation activities on malaria, procurement and supply of antimalarial drugs and commodities to the state healthcare facilities was also deployed. The commissioner said the healthcare system strengthening and operational research was also utilised to control malaria in the state.
“There has been marked reduction in the cases of malaria globally (between 2010 and 2019 with decline from 71 to 57 cases per 1,000 population at risk). Nigeria has recorded a decline in malaria cases (from 42 per cent in 2010 to 27 per cent in 2015 and 23 per cent in 2018),” he said.