Zamfara State has recorded 350 malaria deaths in the first six months out of the 80,000 malaria cases in the state hospitals in 2016.
This was disclosed by Zamfara State Manager, State Malaria Elimination Programme (SMEP), Hamisu Dauran, during the flag off of Zonal Training Community Engagement to create demand for malaria commodities in Zamfara organised by the Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association (NIFAA).
Dauran said sadly in the first and second quarters of this year, 276 children under the ages of 5 years were lost while 74 pregnant women also died of malaria within the period.
He added that the statistics were retrieved from government health facilities only excluding those unreported malaria cases and those treated at the private health centres.
The SMEP manager said malaria could be eliminated in the country if adequate preventive measures, such as using mosquito nets, were taken.
He, however, chided some stakeholders who, he claimed, are sabotaging the fight against malaria.
“Most treated mosquito nets which are supposed to be given to people in Zamfara for free, are being sold to traders in Sokoto, Kano and other neighbouring states by some stakeholders. This is very unfortunate because malaria is a silent killer which is more dangerous than the dreaded AIDS and Boko Haram,” he said.
Earlier, NIFAA Executive Director, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, described mosquitoes as the greatest enemy of Nigerians as malaria claims about 30,000 lives annually in Nigeria.
He said the main objective of NIFAA was to foster unity, hence the involvement of the religious leaders in the fight to eliminate malaria in the county.
”Since mosquitoes have no respect for any religion, we must come together as religious leaders to fight our common enemy because religious leaders command a lot of respects among followers, so any message by religious leaders is well respected by the people,” he said.
The Emir of Gusau, Alhaji Ibrahim Bello, represented by a senior district head in the Emirate, Alhaji Bashir Kabir Danbaba, tasked government to be more proactive and sincere in the implementation of its programmes by involving the religious leaders who are closer to the grassroots.
The Emir challenged the imams and pastors to ensure that the message got to their followers as the fight against the malaria was a collective battle that must be won.