The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, says its target is to distribute a free malaria prevention drug called ‘Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention’ (SMC)to over 914 thousand children in the territory.
The category of children qualified to access the anti-malaria drugs (SMC) are infants between 3 months to 5 years of age without any traces of previous drugs reaction or fever.
Director, FCT Public Health Department, Dr. Saddiq Abdulrahman, represented by the Head of Health Promotion, Hajia Hauwa Ibrahim who made this known during a media parley in Abuja, expressed concern over the malaria prevalence in the FCT, particularly Karu and Orozo communities.
Dr Abdulrahman explained that the SMC malaria prevention drug, which is an intervention by the Federal Government to prevent Malaria in children during the rainy season is potent, free and safe.
He enjoined all care givers, parents and guardians in the FCT to complement Government’s efforts by accessing the SMC and complete the four months circle, towards building their immunity, as well as to surpass last year’s 66% coverage.
“This will commence from July to October in 154 Local Government Areas across nine States with high malaria prevalence, Bauchi, Borno, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Sokoto, Oyo and FCT.
“SMC commenced in the FCT in 2022, and a low coverage of 66% of eligible children was recorded, against the WHO recommendation of at least 80%.This was largely due to the limited reach denial of access of the SMC team to some quarters and places; like the barracks, estates, markets and non-compliance by some parents.
Similarly, Director Primary Healthcare in Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, Dr. Modupe Adeyinka who flagged off the drugs distribution, said over 9000 health workers have been trained in different communities as frontline implementers to ensure comprehensive coverage of all eligible children.
Dr Adeyinka said the drugs would be carried from door to door, religious places, schools and Estates, appealed to all stakeholders to help mobilize support for acceptance of the anti malaria drugs in rural communities.
The Zonal Project Manager FCT Malaria Consortium, Aliyu Jibrin Guraguri while noting that the lessons of the 2022 coverage will help them to expand coverage this year, commended the FCT Administration for procuring and distributing malaria test kits and treatment consumables across the Health Centers ahead of the exercise, pointing out that the measure will give room for children diagnosed of malaria to be treated before taking the SMC.
On her part, Senior Health Education Officer, Mary Caleb appealed to media professionals to support Government in the SMC campaign, towards minimizing infant mortality as a result of malaria.
FCTA Public Health Department, with support from Malaria Consortium Nigeria and other stakeholders are carrying out distribution of the SMC in the FCT.
Remi Johnson Edited By Grace Namiji
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze