Nigeria’s effort to eradicate malaria may not yield the desired results soon as it appears as if there are new strains of the parasite that have become resistant to medications.
Also lack of testing among symptomatic people have increased the prevalence of Malaria in Nigeria.
Malaria is a major public health concern in Nigeria, with an estimated 68 million cases and 194 000 deaths recorded in 2021 alone due to the disease.
According to the World Health Organization, Nigeria has the highest burden of malaria globally, accounting for nearly 27% of the global malaria burden and accounts for 20% of all deaths in children under the age of 5 years in 2021.
There are five types of malaria parasites, and they are differentiated by their morphology.
Of the five, Plasmodium falciparum causes severe potentially life-threatening malaria. It also happens to be responsible for more than 95% of malaria cases in Nigeria.
In 2005, Nigeria officially changed the treatment of malaria from chloroquine to artemisinin-based combination therapy.
The change was due to the rising resistance of malaria parasites to chloroquine with hospitals seeing a doubling in deaths due to malaria.
However, there is now reawakened concern that artemisinin based treatments may have become resistant to the new strain of malaria parasites which now causes a setback to the long global struggle to “roll back malaria.
For most Nigerians, fever, joint pain, and headache are the common signs of malaria.
People hardly take time to conduct a clinical test before proceeding to neighborhood pharmacy to purchase anti-malarial drugs to manage the symptoms without a prescription.
These drugs are not expensive and easy to buy over-the-counter with an average cost of N1500 for a packet of anti-malarial medicine.
Although most people testify to getting relief after a few days, but they are not cured and later begin to show symptoms .
This is now a major challenge to the war against malaria in Nigeria .
We went to streets to ask Nigerians their thoughts on self prescription.
Here’s what you can do to fight the spread of malaria:
* Keep your surroundings clean
* Eradicate puddles and pools
* Sleep under insecticide-treated nets and spray your house regularly with insecticides.
* Visit a health facility to confirm you have malaria first before treatment
* Take your anti-malaria drugs as prescribed.