Malaria infection during pregnancy is a significant public health problem with substantial risks for the pregnant woman, and the newborn child. Globally, 125 million women are at risk of malaria. Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds, about 3000 children every day and over one million people die from malaria each year. In sub-Saharan Africa, the area most burdened by malaria, the disease is thought to cause as many as 10,000 cases of malaria-related deaths in pregnancy, mainly due to severe maternal anaemia.
In Nigeria, the disease continues to account for more cases of deaths than any other country in the world. 97% of Nigeria’s population are at risk of getting infected. The remaining 3% of the population live in the malaria free islands. There are an estimated 100 million malaria cases with over 300,000 deaths per year in Nigeria which is more compared with 215,000 deaths per year from HIV/AIDS.
Malaria is a serious threat to human existence and particularly damaging to pregnant women and their unborn children. For children under five years of age,it could be devastating as it hampers their schooling and social development. Many children who survive a serious attack of malaria might develop physical and mental impairment.
Malaria is a major cause of poverty. The cost of malaria control and treatment drains African economies, slowing economic growth by about 1.3 per cent a year.
The tremendous decrease in malaria transmission and the number of deaths experienced in the recent years has been traced to the concerted effort intensified toward its total elimination. This has brought about the necessity in using effective tools for prevention of the disease such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, vaccination, education, diagnostic tests and antimalarial for treatment.
WHO’s Global malaria strategy 2016-2030 (in line with the ‘2030 Agenda for sustainable development’) provides a technical framework for all endemic regions as they work towards malaria control and elimination. The goals of the strategy include; (1) reducing the rate of new malaria cases by at least 90%; (2) reducing malaria death rates by at least 90%; (3) eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries; and (4) preventing a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.
Excellence and Friends Management Care Centre, has joined the drive to move from treatment to prevention and ultimately to elimination. We believe that vector control is the best strategy towards malaria elimination and eradication, it can be achieved through environmental re-engineering with proper refuse disposal strategies, effective drainage systems management, prohibition of use of plastic bags for packaging water, better product packaging, and improved literacy level. Mass enlightenment campaigns, strategic and structured government intervention, law enforcement and correctional planning for drainage systems in residential areas should be priority. When the vector is tackled effective, there will be no need for mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying. This would result in saving millions to billions of dollars that would have been used for treatment, care and procurement of commodities. .
This year, EFMC will intensify efforts on prevention by collaborating with Center for Family Health Initiative (CFHI) to educate, diagnose, provide antimalarial medicines and mosquito nets to pregnant women and children within Abuja Metropolis.