By Dorothy Onoja

Today marks World Malaria Day, a significant occasion dedicated to raising awareness about the devastating impact of malaria and strategies to combat the disease.

The 2024 Malaria Day, with the theme “Accelerating the fight against Malaria for a more equitable world,” is being commemorated in Kogi State in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and a malaria consortium.

As part of the event, the Kogi State Ministry of Health organized a road show to educate the public about the importance of the day.

During a press conference, Dr. Abdulaziz Adams Adeiza, the Kogi State Commissioner for Health, emphasized that malaria is a public health concern with high morbidity and mortality rates, particularly affecting children under five years old and pregnant women.

Dr. Abdulaziz Adam Adeiza highlighted WHO’s report from 2022, which revealed that one in three global malaria-related deaths occur in Nigeria.

In Kogi State, the prevalence of malaria is 27.73% in the general population and 16% among children under five years old. Despite efforts from various entities, including the government, NGOs, religious leaders, traditional rulers, and private individuals, malaria continues to pose a significant challenge in society.

The commissioner identified factors such as heavy rainfall, flooding, poor hygiene, sanitation, overcrowding, mosquito resistance to repellants, and insufficient political will as contributors to the persistence of malaria.

He stressed that this year’s theme serves as a call to action for all stakeholders to address the barriers preventing the elimination of a preventable and curable disease.

Dr. Abdulaziz urged health stakeholders to collaborate in changing the narrative by promoting preventive measures like adequate sleep and other methods to combat malaria effectively. It is imperative for all parties involved to work together towards a malaria-free future for the community.

The Importance of pregnant women attending antenatal care, where they can receive malaria prevention drugs, was emphasized by the Commissioner.

He assured that the Kogi State Government, led by Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo, is dedicated to improving the health sector through infrastructure development and support for health services.

The commissioner expressed gratitude to supporting partners such as WHO and the Malaria Consortium for their assistance in reducing malaria prevalence in the state.

In his remarks, Dr. Raji Muktar, the WHO representative in Kogi State, highlighted the significant burden of malaria in the WHO African region, accounting for approximately 94% of malaria deaths in 2022.

He called for a global shift in the response to malaria to prevent unnecessary deaths and achieve global strategy targets.

Dr. Kennet Maduka, the project manager of the Malaria Consortium, also spoke, describing this year’s theme for World Malaria Day as fitting for creating a more equitable world.

He mentioned that the consortium will support the state in improving data quality and praised Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo and the commissioner for their leadership and support thus far.


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