Child Mortality: Sightsavers targets 3.4 million children in Sokoto, Kano

As part of effort to reduce child morbidity and mortality rates, an NGO, Sightsavers Nigeria has plan to reach 3.4million children with Azithromycin drugs in Sokoto and Kano states.

Dr Teyil Wamyil-Mshelia, the Country Coordinator, Trachoma Sightsavers, disclosed this at the launching of Safety and Antimicrobial Resistance of Mass Administration of Azithromycin (SARMAAN) 2 Project on Saturday in Sokoto.

Wamyil-Mshelia said children within 1 to 59 months were being targeted adding that the SARMAAN 2 Project was initiated following the success achieved in SARMAAN 1 project.

She noted that during SARMAAN 1 Project, no fewer than 1.3 million infants within the age bracket were administered with drug in 52 local government areas in the six implementing project states of the federation.

“In Sokoto, SARMAAN 2 Project targeted 956, 322 children and the project will be implemented in the 23 local government areas in the state.

“During the concluded SARMAAN 1 project, 39,818 children were targeted while 41,166 have been achieved.

“We leverage on polio immunization platform to achieve success in Sokoto state, Azithromycin is an effective antibiotic drug safeguarding children in all forms of diseases and boosting body immunity, ” she said.

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She explained that mortality in children below five years remains a global challenge especially in low and middle-income countries while Nigeria is among the major contributors of under-five mortality.

” More effort through cost-effective evidence-based interventions is necessary to address under-five mortality rate and fast track the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) before the year 2030, she said.

According to her, the project is implemented in collaboration with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Sokoto State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (SSPHCDA).

Others were the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), eHealth Africa, Solina Center for International Development and Research (SCIDAR) and Sokoto State Ministry of Health.

In her address, Sokoto State Commissioner for Health, Hajiya Asabe Balarabe, reiterated the state government’s commitment to continued partnership with all relevant stakeholders to eradicate poliovirus and other infectious diseases posing a threat to the lives of people, especially young children.

The Executive Secretary, SSPHCDA, Dr. Larai Tambuwal, lamented on the high prevalence of unvaccinated children due to lack of interest by some parents coupled with the issue of Insecurity and other behavioural challenges.

Tambuwal said Nigeria was given certificate as Polio Free Country in 2020 but now there are still challenges of another version of the variant virus posing threat to the lives of mainly young children.

She said the implementing partners deployed Identifying, Enumerate and Vaccinate (IEV) methods to achieve the designed success.

Mr Stanley Mathew, from Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation (BMGF) appreciated the effort of the Sokoto State government on the determination to achieve success in health-related programmes and others.

In their remarks, representatives of development partners including WHO, UNICEF, CDC AFNET and SOLINA commended Gov. Ahmad Aliyu, for releasing the counterpart fund which clearly showed commitment to towards achieving success.



Tribune Online