The Federal Government has called on stakeholders to embrace the national policy on malaria to bring down malaria to its lowest minimum by 2020.
The National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr Nnenna Ezeigwe, made the appeal during a training held in Lagos on Friday.
According to Ezeigwe, the training, which was ongoing in different local government areas of Lagos state, aims to enlighten Pharmacists and Patent Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) on the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT).
She explained that RDT was 100 per cent tested and confirmed to be accurate; she urged people to have confidence in the test.
Ezeigwe said that the first batch of the training would cover the following Ikeja, Oshodi, Mushin, Agege, Surulere, Ifako-Ijaiye, Amuwo-Odofin and Ojo local government areas.
Mrs Ifeoma Onojobi, Chief Executive Officer of Franpat Pharmacy, one the pharmacies visited by NMEP, said that it was a welcome idea and commended the federal government for introducing policy.
Onojobi said that she has heard of the RDT but had never used it because she had no idea how to use it.
“Now that I am learning how to use the RDT kit, I will give it my best and I will make it a point of duty to teach all the members of my staff,’’ she said.
Onojobi advised the federal government to extend the RDT method to typhoid fever, because when they start testing for malaria patients would start requesting to also get tested for typhoid.
“As we know, patients usually say they have typhoid and malaria; so, it will be best if the federal government can extend the testing to both malaria and typhoid.
“Secondly, it will not be best to test a patient for malaria, only to refer the patient to the hospital for typhoid test,’’ she said.
Mr Ezeakudo Raphael, a Resident Pharmacist in Tehillah Pharmacy, called for a synergy for the RDT process to be well achieved.
He said that an enlightenment programme would help to educate the public on RDT and Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT) in order to avoid wrong testing and treatment.
Raphael said he saw an average of 100 assumed cases of malaria in his pharmacy daily for treatment, adding that people still demanded the chloroquine treatment.
“I do not like to use chloroquine or any mono-therapy drug for the treatment of malaria, but when some patients insist on them, I sell and collect my money.
“Now that I have this knowledge, I will stop the sale of chloroquine and any other mono-therapy for malaria treatment.
“I also implore the federal government to enforce the use of ACTs as the alternative to other mono-therapy treatments for malaria,’’ Raphael said.
Mr Paul Udoh, a PPMV shop owner, said that an average of five persons visited his pharmacy daily for malaria treatment.
He said that an average of 10 cases of assumed malaria patients visited pharmacies daily seeking malaria treatment.
Udoh assured the team that he would endeavour to convince his patients to adopt the RDT treatment option.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the national malaria policy involved Test, Treat and Track (TTT) of patients.
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