Executive Director, Oyo State Primary Health Care Board, Dr Babatunde Olatunji, has stressed the importance of early commencement of antenatal care in pregnancy in preventing miscarriage due to malaria.
Dr Olatunji, speaking during a media roundtable by Breakthrough Action-Nigeria to introduce partner media executives in Oyo state to the BA-N programme activities, said pregnant woman are more prone to developing malaria and as such early antenatal care would afford them early access to intermittent preventive treatment of malaria.
Dr Olatunji, who spoke through Dr Oluyemi Osoko, said “signs and symptoms that a pregnant woman will have when she is newly pregnant are also common with a person who has malaria.”
He added, “she may have malaria immediately or during that pregnancy and she may just relate it to the fact that she is pregnant. The two can actually coexist. If the woman does not present early, coexisting of malaria with her pregnancy may abort the pregnancy.”
Dr Olatunji discouraged pregnant women registering late because of a past pregnancy and childbearing experience, saying each pregnancy is unique and requires its own attention.
According to him: “The first three months of pregnancy is about the most turbulent of the whole period of pregnancy. It is the time they need health services to help them pass through early pregnancy challenges without complications.”
He, therefore, urged the media to continue to sensitise the community on health interventions to improve their health as well as support improved behavioural changes in the community.
Mr Idowu Akanmu, senior technical advisor, Malaria Breakthrough Action-Nigeria, Abuja, said school-based malaria clubs had been inaugurated in three pilot schools in two local government areas to inculcate the culture of malaria prevention in them.
He said the school clubs would be leveraging on opportunity with students in these schools to influence appropriate change on malaria prevention.
Amina Kato, BA-N’s Senior Programme Officer, said the media is expected to continue to ensure that family planning and malaria remain in the front burner of discussion to ensure the appropriate behavioural change in the community.
Director, Primary Health Care, Dr Wole Lawal, said the media had played a great role in ensuring the state’s high detection rate for new Tuberculosis cases and urged them to do the same for other programmes like malaria and family planning, to further improve Oyo state’s health indexes.