Dr Jide Idris, who made the assertion at the 5th “Doctors Discuss Malaria’’ Progamme, in Lagos.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, who made the assertion at the 5th “Doctors Discuss Malaria’’ Progamme, in Lagos, said the state recorded 1, 199, 002 cases in 2016.
According to Idris, represented by Dr Rebecca Ayorinde, Assistant Programme Coordinator, Lagos State Malaria Elimination Prevention, the cases of malaria were documented through routine data collection processes.
The event, which has the theme, “Maternal Health and Malaria Priority Access for Women’’, was to commemorate the 2017 World Malaria Day 2017.
Idris said: “Malaria is endemic in Lagos State."
“It poses major challenges to the state as it impedes human development."
“It is both a cause and consequence of under-development and remains one of the leading causes of morbidity in the state."
“The cosmopolitan nature of the state, coupled with people’s behaviour and the abundant distribution of coastal areas, encourage the availability of stagnant water for the breeding of anopheles mosquitoes."
“This is responsible for the stable pattern and continuous transmission of malaria all year round."
“Malaria therefore remains a priority disease and the state government will continue to demonstrate its commitment to its control’’.
Idris said the government was tackling the scourge of malaria through some preventive measures that included environmental management and integrated vector control.
“Others are monitoring and evaluation with emphasis on operational research and the use of its results for evidence-based programming."
“Lagos State Ministry of Health provides Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets to pregnant women at antenatal clinic booking and children under the age of five years."
“It also provides Sulpahdoxine Pyrimethamine for the Intermittent Prevention of Malaria in Pregnancy (IPTp) in antenatal clinics."
“Also, the state conducts Indoor Residual Spraying and Larviciding in selected local governments in the state,’’ he said.
Idris said that the routine data collected from the private health sector in 2016 showed that 56 per cent of pregnant women received at least one dose of IPTp.
“About 93 per cent of confirmed cases received appropriate treatment for malaria and 74 per cent of persons with fever received a parasitological test.
“These statistics show there is still a lot to be done to increase access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment services in the state,’’ he said.
The commissioner advised that all fever cases be tested for malaria before treatment.
“It is important to test before treatment, a policy by the Federal Ministry of Health, which states that all fever cases should be tested and confirmed before treatment,’’ he said.
Contributing, Prof. Akin Osibogun said that in spite of the progress and improvement in malaria prevention globally, it still remained a major concern to public health.
Osibogun, a former Chief Medical Director of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, said that 92 per cent of deaths in Africa were as a result of malaria.
On the effects of malaria on maternal health, he said: “Most times, pregnant women and children are at higher risk of malaria, particularly pregnant woman because of their weak immunity."
“Malaria in pregnant woman can lead to preterm babies or even still birth babies."
“The foetus gets most of the nutrition through the placenta but once the placenta is affected by malaria parasites it leads to reduction of the foetus; this causes low birth weight in the babies.’’
On some prevention strategies, Osibogun said: “According to WHO, the new guidelines says that pregnant women should have IPtp till delivery.
“The usage of Long Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN) must be used regularly by pregnant women and children."
“It is also important to control the vector that transmits malaria, which is mosquito, by making sure there is no stagnant water in the environment."
“The critical strategy to prevent malaria in pregnant woman is to increase the use of Insecticide-Treated Nets and indoor spraying with insecticides,’’ Osibogun said.
In her remarks, Dr Yetunde Ayo-Oyalowo, the convener of “Doctors Discuss Malaria’’ said that preventing malaria in pregnancy was critical to elevating health and welfare of Nigerian families.
She said that the training of doctors and nurses was also critical to end the scourge of malaria.
“A lot of this responsibility is on us as doctors to understand how to break the malaria cycle."
“We must be able to recognise and treat malaria and propagating testing before treating."
“Over the past years, we have trained a total of 1,542 doctors on the management of malaria."
“This is aimed at creating a strong health system of which the human resource is of great importance to offer access to prevent new cases and ensure lifesaving treatment for patients,’’ Ayo-Oyalowo said.