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Monday, May 23, 2011

Nigeria : Too little, too late

Via Next :

" The president of the Malaria Society of Nigeria, John Puddicombe has accused the federal government and corporate bodies of not doing enough to control the incidence of malaria in the country.

Speaking at an awareness outreach on malaria at Akere Primary Health Centre, Ajegunle, in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government area of Lagos at the weekend, Mr Puddicombe said a lot more effort is required to prevent “about 30,0000 deaths from malaria each year in Nigeria.”

Too little is done

Mr Puddicombe, however, commended international bodies for doing more in controlling malaria scourge in the country, where pregnant women and children under the age of five have been said to be the biggest casualties.

According to him, past efforts by the organisation to improve its awareness by introducing malaria clubs in schools have not received the expected support, while other areas like entertainment and football have continued to enjoy the support of the government and corporate bodies.

He said a proposal to start malaria clubs in schools which was sent to the Federal Ministry of Health while Adenike Grange was the health minister “never saw the light of day”, adding that similar treatment were received from “over hundred corporate bodies in Lagos State” where his organisation had sought support for the project.

“Out of over hundred corporate bodies, only two responded and those two were not willing to sponsor the health programme. It doesn’t look to these bodies as a priority; some of them prefer to sponsor football matches to supporting health programmes that will help the country as a whole,” he said.

The federal ministry of health has recently announced that it was targeting school children, but Mr Puddicombe explained that the move to have malaria clubs in secondary schools four years ago “would have gone a long way already in bringing down the menace of malaria in the country.”

“Through the programme, the children will broaden the awareness of the disease by taking the message home and educating their parents about environmental management and the use of treated nets.”

The high point of the outreach was the free malaria screening and treatment, and the distribution of free insecticide treated nets to residents."

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