Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The Borno State Government and World Health Organisation (WHO) have stepped up campaigns against malaria with the distribution of anti-malaria drugs to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) for preventive measure.
The second circle of the drug distribution which started weekend is targeted at children between the ages of three to 59 months in 11 local governments of Borno State, State Programme Manager, Malaria for Elimination Programme, Mala Waziri said.
“This campaign against malaria is the second circle this year. The first circle was done in July and it is targeting children ages bracket three months to 59 months.
“Children are more vulnerable and the IDPs is targeted because of the population of people and sanitary situation,” Waziri told journalists monitoring the exercise in Maiduguri.
He said the drug being given to the children was like vaccine to clear the parasite which causes malaria in the body. He said the medical was a dose of tablet which when repeated, neutralises malaria parasite from the body system. He however explained that the drug is not for those affected, urging malaria patient to seek medical attention at nearby health centres.
“Plasmodium which causes malaria is cleared by the drug which is like vaccine and then the child won’t have malaria.
“We don’t give a child that already has malaria. Anybody having malaria should go to nearest health centre. There are trained medical personnel with test kits and malaria drugs there,” he explained.
WHO Health Emergencies Communication Specialist, Dr. Chima Onuekwe, said the exercise was expected to run for four circle this year, “We are targeting four circle this year,” he disclosed.
He said WHO was supporting Borno State Government to boost campaigns against malaria and cholera especially at IDPs camps because of the huge population of displaced persons in these camps, challenges of hygiene and attending risk.
He said the campaign will run at 11 local governments with high population of IDPs. These LGAs include Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC), Jere, Bama, Kala Balge, Mafa, Banki in the central area, Guzamala, Kukawa, Mobbar, Ngazai in the northern area and Damboa in the southern part of the state.
A 2016 report by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) put the statistics of those displace by the Boko Haram violence in the northeast states at about 3 million with nearly 1 million children affected. Borno, the birthplace of Boko Haram and heartbeat of the nine years insurgency is worse affected.