From: Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
An International non-profit health organisation, Jhpiego, affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, United States of America, on Wednesday, launched its health intervention programme in Ebonyi State.
The health outreach tagged Transforming Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Optimal Pregnancy (TIPTOP), was targeted at offering free malaria treatment to the people of the state especially pregnant women and children. No fewer than 100,000 pregnant women, children and others in the state are expected to benefit from free malaria treatment.
Its Project Director, Ms Elaine Roman, while launching the programme, lamented that malaria had caused millions of premature deaths globally. She said that Nigeria, being on the countries with high prevalence has lost many pregnant women and children to the disease.
She explained that malaria in pregnancy leads to high rate of severe maternal anaemia and low birth weight. She lamented that despite the availability of affordable interventions and medicines to prevent malaria in pregnancy, a high proportion of pregnant women do not access them.
Also speaking, the TIPTOP Senior Regional Programmatic and Technical Advisor, Prof. Emmanuel Otolorin, noted that the programme would significantly reduce malaria in pregnancy and increase lifesaving, quality anti-malaria medication Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP) at regular intervals during pregnancy.
“Malaria in pregnancy is responsible for 10,000 maternal deaths and 100,000 newborn deaths each year. Despite the availability of affordable interventions and medicines to prevent malaria in pregnancy, a high proportion of pregnant women do not access them” he said.
Prof. Otolorin explained that over 130 million Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Mosquitoes Nets have been distributed by the federal government nationwide and called for provision of more nets for pregnant women.
In his remarks, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezuruike commended the NGO for choosing the state to launch the TIPTOP programme.
He described malaria as ‘a deadly disease that causes lots of havoc in the health system’ and promised that the state would partner with the organisation in the programme.
Umazuruike disclosed that the state has distributed over 1.7 million insecticidal mosquito nets across the thirteen local government areas of the state and that the nets have four years life span.