Upper East region ends second round of SMC

BY: Rosemary Ardayfio
 A volunteer dosing a child
A volunteer dosing a child

The Upper East Regional Health Directorate has completed the second round of the drug administration to children under five years to protect them from malaria.

The exercise, known as Seasonal Malaria Chemotherapy (SMC), began in June and is being carried out over a four-month period.

For a week in the months of June and July, the children were given anti-malarial over a three-day period by volunteers, who move from house to house.

This will be repeated in the next two months.

SMC is good

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Commenting on the impact of the exercise, a Senior Staff Nurse of the Wuru CHPS Compound in the Kassena Nakana District, Ms Jane Sulemena, said the exercise had drastically reduced the number of children reporting to the health facility with malaria.

“Normally, during this time of the year, our health facilities are flooded with children who have contracted malaria as a result of the onset of the rains,” she said.

According to her, “the patients we are seeing now are those who are six years and above. Those under five years who report in large numbers are not coming in now.”

She indicated that with the introduction of the SMC, the numbers reporting kept dwindling.

In 2016, she said, the facility attended to 168 children under age five, suffering from malaria, adding that this number reduced to 72 in 2017.

This year, the CHPS Compound has seen 34 cases, she added.

Ms Sulemana, who indicated that the drug administration exercise had reduced the work burden on health staff, added: “SMC is good; we wish it will be extended to those aged above five years too.”

Successful exercise

Addressing a meeting of the regional and national monitoring teams after the exercise, the Regional Director of Health, Dr Winfred Ofosu, lauded the programme implementers for a successful exercise.

He said efforts were being made to address the challenges that might impede the successful implementation of the exercise.

Dr Ofosu indicated that there was no doubt that SMC was a good intervention as there was proof that it protected children against malaria and thereby saved lives.