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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Avoid Self medication; Get Tested before Treating For Malaria – Malaria Eradication Programme Advises Nigerians

The National malaria Eradication programme NMEP has raised the alarm on rampant cases of self medication among Nigerians under the guise of treating malaria without the necessary test.
The NMEP and other development partners at a fourth quarter media chat in Abuja insisted that cases of malaria in the country has drastically reduced as a result of efforts by the ministry of Health, even as testing kits for the disease are now available for investors to invest in.
National coordinator of the malaria eradication programme, Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed who was represented by the Head of monitoring and evaluation, Dr. Perpetua Uhomoibi reeled out some of the remarkable efforts made by the ministry of Health to reduce the disease in the country: “…as challenging as the elimination of malaria could be, the Federal Ministry of Health through the National Malaria Eradication programme NMEP and her roll back malaria partnership have made some progress towards the elimination of malaria in the country. In 2017, over 8.4 million long lasting insecticide treated nets were distributed in three states; namely Kogi, Edo and Osun while a total of 105 million nets have been distributed so far. Consequently malaria has reduced from 42% to 27%. (MIS 2015)
“The national insecticide resistance management IRM plan has been finalized, it is meant to guide the country’s decision on malaria management in the future. A total of 130 million doses of Artemisinin‐based combination therapy ACT were distributed in 2016 whereas 25.4 million were dispensed to the private sector as at October 2017, for treatment of malaria. Also malaria preventive measure through seasonal malaria chemo-prevention was carried out in the sub Sahel region of the country,” She said.
Answering questions from newsmen on the right patterns to treat malaria, the team of experts from NMEP revealed that ACT treatment for malaria has been subsidized, which means they are not to be sold at more than one dollar per pack which is about three hundred and sixty naira.
To recognize the subsidized drugs, they urged Nigerians to look out for such malaria drugs with green leaf logo while also urging them to report pharmacies and patent medicine shops that sell such drugs above the prescribed rate.
However, severe cases of malaria are to be treated with Artesunate injection.
They also urged the private sector to venture into the business of malaria treatment, especially in the production and sales of malaria testing kits.
It was noted that the failure of Nigerians to test before treatment of signs (which they assume to be malaria) is the major drawback to huge investment in that regard.
In all, the following were key messages and awareness issues which the National Malaria Eradication Programme wants Nigerians to know;
·       *Test must be carried out before treatment for malaria begins, because related symptoms of malaria are not necessarily signs of malaria, other diseases can display known symptoms of malaria.
·       *Malaria prevalence is decreasing in Nigeria.
·       *Demand for Artemisinin‐based combination therapy (ACT) treatment if it’s confirmed that you have malaria.
·       *Training appropriate health institutions; pharmacies, patent medicine shops and others especially in rural areas on how to carry out rapid diagnostic testing using the malaria testing kits.
·       *Treatment of malaria is an investment, the private sector should get involved in the business as donor funding for organizations such as NMEP (that have been involved in subsidizing the treatment of the disease) is gradually being withdrawn.
·       *There is no evidence in Africa to show that the malaria parasite is becoming resistant to the ACT treatment, as widely reported some time ago.    
·      * When people don’t respond to malaria treatment, it is certain that no test was carried out before the treatment, which then means that malaria medicine is being used to treat other diseases.
·       *The prescribed price of ACT is one dollar which is about three hundred and sixty naira.

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