Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Malaria prevalence has dropped significantly in Nigeria, insists the Federal Government, saying its approach to the fight against malaria has yielded positive result going by its records.
It insisted that malaria was still a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria, in spite of the significant drop in its prevalence from 42 percent in 2010 to 27 percent in 2015 according to Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS) report.
National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed, told journalists, in Abuja, that the success was due to the ban placed on the use of monotherapeutic drugs like Chloroquine to treat malaria.
According to him. “We did an extensive research and discovered that the monotherapeutic drugs have lost effect on malaria.
“We replaced it with Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) for the treatment of malaria.
“Periodic review of the result had justified the effectiveness of ACT in the fight against malaria,” he said
Mohammed, who spoke through NMEP Head of Advocacy Communication, Mr. Chukwu Okoronkwo, confirmed that ‘few pockets’ of cases of malaria recorded in recent are mostly from the rural communities due to some peculiar challenges.
He was, however, unhappy that some people quickly go for malaria treatment once they discover symptoms of malaria without any form of diagnosis to ascertain the true cause of the symptoms.
He made reference to World Health Organisation (WHO) report which indicated that, of the 57. 3 million estimated cases of malaria recorded in 2017, only about 12.4 million cases were confirmed.
He, thus, recommended diagnosis as the first step in any case of malaria symptoms, because symptoms associated with malaria which included fever, headache and body pains are also symptomatic to several other infections.
Meanwhile, Head, Malaria Case anagement Unit at NMEP, Dr. Nnenna Ogbulafor, in her presentation, encouraged individuals and families to procure a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kit for easy and quick malaria diagnosis.
She discouraged self medication and encouraged adoption of the right health-seeking behaviours for collective elimination of malaria through informed knowledge and decisions.