Sunday, 26 April 2020

World Malaria Day: Ekpenyong seeks improved funding for the health sector


Eneji Simon Ushie|26 April 2020 

As the world marks the world's malaria day, yesterday day April 25th, stakeholders in the health sector are seeking for a renewed budgetary system and improved funding for the health sector to curb pandemic spread and reduce the rate of disease preventable deaths especially from Malaria.

Speaking in Odukpani, Cross River State, a medical financial expert and Director General, Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Janet Ekpenyong said government at all level must begin to prioritize health as an undebatable sector with huge financial investment to curb recurring incidences of deaths and poor facility management.

She said, with the growing population and urbanization of rural areas, absence of basic services like healthcare if neglected, may lead to a catastrophic society characterized with unhealthy people, dilapidated health facilities, brain drain of medical experts,recruitment and engagement of health workers with little or no motivation. 

Dr Ekpenyong who said, malaria like every other diseases if dictated on time and properly managed is treatable , admonished people to go for proper laboratory test and analysis to prevent complications which may result in wrong drug use,she tasked all Nigerians to begin to adopt preventive measures to reduce the incidences of malaria.

Ekpenyong: "Malaria is actually still killing our women and our children especially those in the rural areas and that is why a day was set up to create more awareness and to remind our leaders that they need to invest more funds in the fight against malaria, they need to create policies and programmes that will deliberately end malaria in the world.

"Malaria we all know is caused by mosquitoes, and these mosquitoes only breed in a dirty environment and that is why we admonish people to discontinue the life cycle of this vector by cleaning our surroundings and disposing stagnant waters around our houses".

Speaking on the similarities between Malaria symptoms and the dreaded Covid19, Dr Ekpenyong said the government of Cross River State and the Primary Healthcare Development Agency have created a comprehensive awareness strategy in sensitizing people not just on the covid19 but every other common diseases in our neighborhood.

"In our campaign towards ensuring that Cross River State remains free from Covid19, we ensure that we speak to people about every other diseases that as well kill our people daily especially Malaria that amounts to more death of pregnant women and our children under 5,that they should look out for possible symptoms of malaria as well.

"We have sensitized them that not all fever is a case of the corona virus but the only way to dictate and distinguish which is through laboratory testing and that is why malaria services can be assessed in all of our health facilities across the state".

On ways in which malaria fever presents it self and preventive measures to be adopted, Dr Ekpenyong said it comes with intermittent fever all day and advised that people begin to imbibe the culture of cleaning their surroundings, ensure the use of long lasting insecticide treated nets and seek medical advises when confronted with signs and symptoms similar to malaria.

To ensure a nation free from malaria, she admonished the Federal Government to continually invest in programmes alongside development partners with a sustainable plan over the years which will assist those most vulnerable and handicap to get access to drugs and other palliatives for use.

World malaria day is marked yearly on April 25th and this year's tasked is "Zero malaria it starts with Me" drawing awareness and creating consciousness in the minds of people to know what role we all have to play to end malaria death in the world.

Presently, Nigeria is said to record the world's highest malaria deaths with over a million new cases yearly resulting in over 300,000 deaths and 11% maternal mortality rate. Malaria is also said to be the cause of over 50% illnesses in children under 5 and with 30% cases of hospitalization.

This year's team calls for an improved personal commitment to end malaria in Nigeria as its been said that only 3% of Nigerians who live in highlands can live free from malaria.



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