Four in ten Nigerian children infected with malaria
Abuja, NigeriaJust over 40% of children under age five are infected with malaria, according to a new national survey. “These results show that Nigeria needs to focus on eliminating malaria,” said Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, who launched the study in Abuja. “Nigeria is working towards 2015 as a target to eliminate the disease,” the Minister reported.
Malaria remains widespread throughout the entire country. The disease is most common in South West and North Central zones where half of all children are infected and least common in South East Zone where prevalence among children is 28%.
National malaria prevention programs are having an impact, according to the newly released 2010 Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey (2010 NMIS). Ownership of at least one insecticide treated nets (ITNS) has increased markedly from only 2% of households in 2003 to 8% in 2008 to 42% in 2010. Use of nets by children under age five has also increased over the same time period. Households in areas where malaria prevention campaigns have been carried out are more than three times as likely to own and use ITNs as households in areas without recent campaigns.
Despite this progress, many challenges remain. Over two-thirds of young children in Nigeria do not sleep under mosquito nets. Among children with a fever in the two weeks before the survey, only half were given any type of antimalarial drug. Over 70% of children under five suffer from anemia, a common consequence of malaria infections. And, only 1% of households have had indoor residual spraying with insecticides in the 12 months before the survey.
The 2010 NMIS collected information from almost 6,000 households and over 6,300 women. More than 5,200 children were tested for malaria and anemia.
The 2010 Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey was implemented by the National Population Commission (NPC) and the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP). ICF International provided technical assistance through the MEASURE DHS programme, a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Funding for the 2010 NMIS was provided by the NMCP, Global Fund [through the Society for Family Health (SFH) and Yakubu Gowon Centre (YGC)], World Bank, United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFIC) [through the Support to Nigeria Malaria Programme (SuNMaP)], and USAID through the MEASURE DHS programme at ICF International].