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The President of the Malaria Society of Nigeria, Dr. Babajide Puddicombe, on Monday said in spite of the efforts committed to fight the malaria scourge, Nigeria still had the highest number of malaria casualties worldwide.
Puddicombe said this at an awareness campaign to commemorate the 2016 World Malaria Day, with the theme: “End Malaria for Good.”
The programme was held in Lagos.
The campaign was organised by the society in collaboration with the Oyingbo Market Women’s Association.
Puddicombe said: “A lot of resources and efforts have since been committed to fighting the malaria scourge and the results worldwide in the last 10 years have been encouraging.
“Thanks to the introduction of Artemisinin Combination Therapy and long lasting insecticide treated nets.
“However, with about 100 million malaria cases and about 300,000 deaths annually, Nigeria has the highest number of malaria casualties worldwide.”
The figures were from the World Health Organisation.
The president said the government still had a huge role to play in the fight against the malaria scourge.
He said there was the need for the government to ensure that the drainages flowed and adequate electricity supplies to allow for people to sleep under the nets.
“Poor power supply, pot holes in most of our roads, poor state of most of our environments and high level of poverty were some of the factors contributing to the malaria scourge,” Puddicombe said.
He said, however, that the government could not effectively fight the scourge alone and would need the collaborative efforts of NGOs.
He said: “As long as credible NGOs are not actively involved in government’s efforts at malaria control, ending malaria for good will remain a mirage in Nigeria.
“It is not enough to give us treated nets, diagnostic kits, ACTs and gloves without funds for awareness programmes.
“With adequate funding, we can execute our programmes in different parts of this country all year round.”
Also speaking, the Head, Oyingbo Market Women’s Association, Taatu Balogun, said the awareness programme should be carried out regularly to educate Nigerians on ways to prevent malaria.
Balogun said such enlightenment programmes would help to reduce death rates from malaria.
She said: “Ill health is inevitable, but with constant awareness and enlightenment programmes, people will have the opportunity to learn and take care of their health.
“I also want to urge people to take advantage of these programmes to take good care of their health and that of their children.
“Because malaria can be very devastating when it is not well treated.
“People should also go to the hospital when they have fever and get treated if they are found positive of the ailment.”