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Friday, March 6, 2015

Curbing Malaria Menace

Varieties Of Malaria Drugs
Despite having it in abundance in the country, millions of Nigerians still avoid the use of insecticide treated nets to prevent malaria. Martins Ifijeh looks at why the apathy persists and how it can be checked

It is no longer news that malaria kills about 482,000 children under age five annually, amounting to 1300 children every day in the world, with the prevalence not having a significant decline year in year out, as available statistics have proven beyond reasonable doubt. What this implies is that one child dies from malaria every minute.

Sadly, 90 per cent of all malaria deaths of 627,000 per year occur in Sub-Sahara Africa. Nigeria, especially, share a major chunk of this statistics with over 200,000 people dying yearly in the country from a disease that the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated in its 2013 reports that it is entirely preventable and treatable.

For total eradication of the scourge, the research director, Global Fight Against Malaria, Mr. Jacob Gogo, advocated for a behavioral change among Nigerians. He explained that there’s no way malaria can exist without the possibility of mosquito not coming in contact with man. Hence the need for people to have a clean environment devoid of stagnant water or dirty gutters that encourages breeding of the insect. “How effective will insecticide treated nets be
when there are a lot of mosquito causing factors like stagnant water around the house. Some persons may argue that mosquito nets could do the work, but then again, are people meant to spend 24 hours inside the treated nets? This is why the remote cause should be tackled as well; which is proper hygiene around the house,” he added.

According to experts, malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals, caused by parasitic protozoans (a type of single cell microorganism) of the Plasmodium type. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, fatigue, vomiting and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma or death.

For a senior lecturer with College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Dr. Ernest Nwoke, Nigeria should stop depending on drugs and researches from foreign countries, especially when it comes to malaria. According to him, it is more of Africa’s problem and the continent, especially Nigeria must champion in depth researches that will bring out lasting solutions to the scourge called malaria.

“We have not been able to come up with permanent solutions because we keep depending on foreign drugs before we can go on with treatments. The Chinese, Americans and the Europeans recommending drugs for us to treat malaria has actually no reason doing that if we are serious with researches.

Malaria is not their problem, it is ours. More attention should be given to research in this country so that we can come up with lasting solution to malaria. Just recently, it took several professors to be able to diagnose malaria in one of these countries. This is something that won’t cost a 500 level medical student in Nigeria 30 minutes to do. He advised government to pay more attention to the menace rather than depending on foreign research to solve the problem.


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