The Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria and Lagos State Government have called for concerted and prompt actions towards ending the malaria scourge in the country.
They made the call on Thursday in Lagos during a programme organised by the national body of the AHAPN in collaboration with its Lagos chapter to mark World Malaria Day.
The programme, which held at Bariga Local Council Development Area secretariat in Bariga, Lagos, featured paper presentations, screening for malaria, among other ailments. It also sensitised residents towards ensuring healthy environment.
The theme for this year’s Malaria Day is ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me.’
Speaking on the sub-theme, ‘Continued Relevance of Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACTs) in the treatment of malaria,’ the association’s National Chairman, Dr Kingsley Amibor, said, “Nigeria suffers the world’s greatest malaria burden with approximately 15 million cases and 207,000 deaths reported annually with about 173 million at the risk of infection.
“Malaria is a huge burden confronting us as a nation which births the need for us to conduct a free screening test to rapidly end and completely eliminate the plasmodium parasites from patients’ blood.”
He however stressed the need for confirmatory test before the treatment of malaria.
“The importance of diagnosis, testing cannot be overemphasized. Patients with suspected malaria should have parasitological confirmation of diagnosis before starting anti-malaria treatment, which is why AHAPN is organising the free mass screening for malaria today.”
In her presentation, the Director of Pharmaceutical Service, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Moyosere Adejumo, identified malaria as a huge public health challenge facing the nation.
She said, “The theme for this year’s commemoration, ‘Zero Malaria starts with me’, is apt in time in view of the collective responsibilities of all stakeholders, including the governments at all levels, professional bodies, health care workers at all levels, civil society organisations, communities, corporate organisations and even individuals to reduce the scourge of malaria. It is pertinent to note that several malaria interventions being implemented have produced some gains in terms of decline in malaria prevalence and mortality.
“The war against malaria is one that must be won. The Lagos State Government is very committed to this fight; we must all come together to fight malaria and this can be achieved when we begin to realize that ‘Zero Malaria starts with me.’’
Also, the AHAPN chairman, Lagos State chapter, Mrs Titilayo Onedo, described malaria as a life-threatening scourge that should be eradicated.
She said, “Recent research shows that environmental degradation add to the spread of malaria; hence, we are mobilising the people to ensure a clean environment as well as the use of the preventive anti-malaria measures and appropriate diagnosis cannot be over emphasized.”
Onedo said the screening conducted by the association to commemorate the day cut across kidney disease, sugar level and high blood pressure.
“We screened 200 participants for malaria parasites. Over 1000 doses of adult and children anti-malarial were donated,” Onedo said.
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