Sitting on a wooden stool outside her home in the Dobeli community in the Yola North Local Government Area (LGA), Hajara Yusuf, a 27-year-old mother of three, was coaxing her children to take the medication seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC).
“Usually I look forward to when they give the regular anti-malarial drugs because I have seen firsthand how it keeps children from getting sick.
Previously, I used to decline medication because I wasn’t sure what it was until a community health educator explained the benefit to me.
Then I tried my second son (Tsoho) because he always got sick and he has been healthy ever since.
Two of my children are among the eligible group entitled to receive the medications and since then I have taken it upon myself to be vigilant whenever there is a campaign to ensure that my children receive their dose.
I also encourage other mothers to collect for their children.
Since Tsoho and his brother started receiving the SMC medicines, I have spent less money on medicines, and this has given me a lot of time for other things,” she said.
Ms. Yusuf said that she usually gets sad when she sees that her son does not play with other children.
“But right now, I’m happy that she’s playing and running like the other kids.
And I remain committed to ensuring that they are available to receive their medications in all four cycles and will be an advocate for such benefits to other mothers as well, said Ms. Yusuf.
The young mother of three children is one of the beneficiaries of the SMC medicines distributed in the state of Adamawa to almost one million children in the 21 LGAs, with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and financing from Global Funds through the National Malaria Elimination Program.
SMC is administered monthly for four months during periods of increased malaria transmission, using sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ) (SPAQ) to children aged 3 to 59 months to reduce cases of malaria outbreaks that generally increase in the country during the rainy season.
A persistent threat In Nigeria, malaria caused by the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes is a major public health problem and poses a threat to the entire population, with children and pregnant women most vulnerable to severe illness and death .
Ending malaria transmission by 2030 remains a top government priority, as Nigeria is one of four countries that account for just over half of all malaria deaths worldwide.
According to the latest World Malaria Report, Nigeria accounts for 27% of all malaria cases and 32% of deaths worldwide.
To reduce the burden of disease, the WHO recommends, among other interventions, the SMC intervention for children aged 3-59 months living in areas of high malaria transmission to protect against malaria during the rainy season.
Other WHO-recommended interventions to control malaria include vector control through the use of long-lasting insecticidal nets, indoor residual spraying.
all suspected malaria cases are confirmed by parasite-based diagnostic tests (using microscopy or a rapid diagnostic test).
Diagnostic tests allow health providers to quickly distinguish between malarial and non-malarial fevers, facilitating appropriate treatment.
Continued intervention Applauding the WHO for continuously supporting the state government to provide quality health services to the population, Adamawa State Director of Public Health Dr. Celine Laori said that the September malaria prevention campaign is the fourth and final cycle of the SMC routine for the year.
“We appreciate the outstanding leadership and commitment of WHO throughout the four cycles.
They supported the state in building the capacity of health workers, which pushed them to provide adequate services throughout the exercise,” said Dr. Laori.
Endorsing the importance of the campaign, Northeast Emergency Manager Dr. Richard Lako said WHO has remained a dedicated partner in supporting Adamawa State in achieving global goals of reducing the incidence of malaria cases and mortality rate by at least 90% by 2030.
“The SMC campaign will complement the efforts of the Adamawa state government to provide quality health services to the people.
WHO will continue to provide technical support, including capacity building, to increase early disease detection in the state, especially in hard-to-reach places,” said Dr. Lako.