As the world sets to mark the World Malaria day on Wednesday, Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Azeez Adeduntan has said that cases of malaria had reduced by 43 per cent in the state.
Dr Adeduntan spoke at a stakeholders’ meeting by Association of Civil Society on Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition at the Oyo State Ministry of Health Board room.
The Health Commissioner, who spoke through ministry’s Malaria Case Management Officer, Mrs Elizabeth Adeleke, linked the reduction in burden of malaria to the distributed insecticide treated bed nets, provision of free malaria drugs and improved capacity building for health workers on malaria diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Adeduntan, who puts insecticide-treated net coverage in the state at 92 per cent, declared that poor usage of these nets was still a challenge and urged increased community support to improve net usage.
While stating that malaria burden dropping from 50 per cent in 2010 to 17 per cent in year 2015, he assured also of the safety of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, a malaria drug, to prevent malaria in pregnancy.
According to him, “the national guidelines said it can be used up to three times even till delivery so that the pregnant woman does not get infected with malaria.”
Dr Adeduntan dissuaded people from resorting to self medication when they feel feverish, saying malaria test must always be done before malaria medicines are taken.
“If you are hungry, you may feel feverish; sometimes when stressed up and need rest, you can start to feel feverish, so we are insisting that when people complain of malaria, health workers should test and be sure it is malaria before they give them malaria medicines,” he said.
Dr Adeduntan while assuring that Oyo State government will continually make free malaria medicines available in its health facilities and some private hospitals, urged increased support to ensure that incidence of malaria in the state is further reduced to its barest minimum.
Chairman, Association of Civil Society on Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition, Oyo State branch, Dr Martins Ogundeji, described the use of insecticide treated nets as a proven strategy against malaria and said early detection and treatment of malaria was core to reducing its burden.
According to Dr Ogundeji, community members need to know signs of malaria and take appropriate action and treatment to prevent its ill health.
He assured of the body’s continual support to Oyo State government’s strategies against malaria, declaring that its members has competency and experience to carry out activities related to malaria, immunisation and nutrition.