WHO working to boost malaria prevention and control in northeastern Nigeria

Geneva (IINA) � If more funds are secured, up to 10,000 lives in Nigeria could be saved by November through targeted steps in malaria prevention and control, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated.

To manage malaria in the Borno state of northeastern Nigeria, WHO and its partners are strengthening surveillance systems to monitor cases and outbreaks; increasing people's access to care in clinics and to health facilities; spraying insecticides and distributing bed nets as part of vector control; and administering malaria drugs to children under five every month from July to October.

Following a visit, WHO malaria experts commissioned a modeling exercise that concluded that joint actions could prevent up to 10,000 deaths in Borno state alone, UN News reported.

In early July, the first of four monthly rounds of mass drug administration reached more than 880,000 of the 1.1 million under-age-five children targeted.

Malaria is preventable and curable, and increased efforts over the last 15 years have drastically reduced related mortality rates by more than 60 percent, averting six million deaths, according to Director of WHO's Global Malaria Program Dr. Pedro Alonso.

We will give one curative dose of antimalarial drugs to a defined population, in this case children under-five, Dr. Alonso said, adding that "it's a necessary temporary fix to reduce malaria deaths for the next six months.

WHO hopes for $2.5 million to mobilize the emergency intervention and is relying on the existing polio vaccinator infrastructure to carry out the operation, which faces Boko Haram security threats.

Source: International Islamic News Agency