Malaria Prevalence among Children in Abuja

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.04.02.Art053

Authors : Ugochi Felicia Ezenwelu


Background: Malaria has been noted as world’s most important tropical parasitic disease that has killed millions of children mostly in developing countries of the World. The attendant problems associated with malaria prevention and treatment in most African countries had substantially increased the yearly rates of infant illness and child death. Therefore, this prospective study focused on the prevalence of malaria among children in different areas in Nigeria. Thick and thin films were made and stained using parasitological standard procedures. Structured questionnaire were also distributed to ascertain their state of health before recruiting them into the study.  Overall 30% of Male and 15.7% of female were respectively positive to malaria diagnosis while 35.7% and 18.6% male and female were negative respectively. High rate of 87.5%, 88.9% and 100% of toddlers, infant and school children respectively had fever while 9.4% and 8.0% toddlers and pre-school children suffer convulsion respectively. Malaria parasite was found in 77.8% infants, 65.6% toddlers, 60% pre-school and 75% school children but total of 34.3% of all the children had no parasite. Symptoms observed among the children indicate a very high percentage of 88.9% infant showing fever while all the school age of 6 to 10 years age shows feverish symptoms due to malaria infection.

Conclusion: The prevalence of malaria among children observed in this study shows increasing burden of malaria in the early years of many children. Aggressive and strategic intervention shall be needed to curtail and prevent unforeseen death rate of many vulnerable children.

Background: Malaria has been noted as world’s most important tropical parasitic disease that has killed more people than any other communicable disease (1). It has remains one of the most prevalent diseases in the World with an estimated 300-500 million cases annually of which 90% occurs in Africa (1). The increasing burden of malaria among children in sub-Saharan Africa has now constituted a leading cause of high mortality due to poverty in this region and poor environmental hygiene which serve as major risk factor. This is because sub-Sahara African region has the greatest number of people exposed to malaria transmission, greatest burden of malaria morbidity and mortality in the world (2). The problems associated with malaria treatment in Africa had substantially increased the rates of illness and death mostly among children (3,4). It is estimated that more than one million children living in Africa die yearly from direct and indirect effects of malaria infection (5). This make malaria a major public health problem and leading cause of premature death in tropical and subtropical countries among children (6).

Moreover, the attendant problems associated with malaria treatment in most Africa countries had substantially increased the yearly rates of infant illness and death (3,7).  With regards to children aged between 1 and 3 years of age, malaria attack episode usually last for 5 to 15 days and often incapacitate the victim with several symptom which include frequent vomiting, convulsion and progressive difficult breathing.

In respect to this, many households had to spend enormous amount on lives, medical cost and drugs. The daily labour cost coupled with cost of treatment and high mortality associated with the disease make malaria one of the main factors retarding development in Africa. Despite huge loss of economic resources, public health, productivity and life span had been adversely affected subjecting many people to abject poverty (8), mostly in hyper-endemic areas in Nigeria (9).

Malaria is a known infection caused by the parasite Plasmodium, of which P. falciparum and P. vivax are the most common but mixed infections with two or more of the Plasmodium species are common. P. falciparum is responsible for most severe, often fatal forms of malaria disease in tropical region (10). Nigeria accounted for more than 25% of the malaria disease burden in Africa, and this has significantly contributed to death of million in a year, which mostly consist of children and pregnant women (11).Despite all efforts to provide several preventive methods; malaria related deaths accounts for up to 11% of maternal mortality, 25% of infant mortality and 30% of under five mortality, resulting in about 300,000 childhood death annually (12). The vast majority of deaths occur among children below five years of age and pregnant women (13), especially in remote rural areas with poor access to health. Therefore, this prospective study focused on the prevalence of malaria among children in different areas in Nigeria


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