ROTARY International has disclosed that it is spending $400,000 to tackle malaria and malnutrition in pregnant women and children under five years old in Lagos, Oyo, and Ogun states over the next three years in a bid to improve the health of women and children.
The project, tagged “Little Steps, Big Steps: Tackling Malaria and Malnutrition among Pregnant Women and Under-5 Children in Lagos, Oyo, and Ogun States,” and under the initiative of the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive Maternal and Child Health (RMCH), will cover 160 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the states.
The project’s manager and Rotary Past Governor, Mr. Adeniji Raji, speaking at its stakeholders’ meeting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, said the project, a scale-up of Rotary International’s past efforts to improve maternal and child health in the country, is to cover 96 PHCs in 15 local government areas in Oyo; 30 PHCs in six LGAs in Ogun and 34 PHCs in five LGAS in Lagos.
He said Oyo was benefiting from 60 per cent of the project’s cost and effort because the state’s malaria and malnutrition prevalence is much higher than the scale in the other two states.
According to him, the project will improve the availability of professional medical services and drugs in these primary health facilities and provide access to information and tools for the prevention and treatment of malaria and malnutrition in communities, as well as develop prerequisites for the sustainable transfer of activities and the prevention of stock-outs.
Mr. Raji said health outreaches will be conducted within the community to detect women and children with malaria and malnutrition and treat them accordingly, just as health officers will be trained to offer better services in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of malaria and malnutrition, while insecticidal-treated mosquito nets will be given to households with mothers and children, among other things.
World Health Organisation (WHO) representative, Dr. Philips Zonto, said in a remark that the initiative was a huge step in tackling malaria and malnutrition and will support achieving universal health coverage and attaining sustainable development goals in the country.
He, therefore, urged all stakeholders to partner with Rotary International to protect children and pregnant women from the consequences of malaria and malnutrition for healthier mothers and babies, as well as help children grow up as future leaders able to contribute meaningfully to the development of the country.
Representatives of the health commissioner for Oyo State, Dr. Babatunde Akintunde, put the incidence of malaria in the state at 21 per cent, stating that it was not good enough; hence, the government will support the Rotary International programme to intervene a success.
“Once the burden of malaria is reduced, we know that it will increase productivity. When people are productive, the economy of the state will improve. So, the intervention is germane and key to us,” he added.
SOURCE: Nigerian Tribune