How to eliminate malaria in Nigeria, by pharmacists
Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have unveiled blue print on how to eliminate malaria in Nigeria.
The pharmacists at a press conference to mark the 2019 World Malaria Day (WMD), in Lagos, said a combination of disruption of breeding of mosquitoes and elimination of parasite from the system has been proven to lead to zero malaria.
President PSN, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, told journalists: “We also call on other health professionals to ensure quick and effective response to save lives especially in at risk populations, children under five and pregnant women. To end malaria for good, while communities are taking actions to control the vector, we must do our part by providing effective treatment.
“Finally we call on the policy makers including the Federal Ministry of Health to strengthen national malaria surveillance by incorporating reports from pharmacists operating in community settings. Evidence currently shows that most patients visit their community pharmacist first when they suspect malaria. Therefore health data reports from community pharmacists will improve data quality and resulting intervention. Today we start a zero malaria community and it start with me.”
The pharmacist urged Nigerians to clean their environment, especially by draining stagnant water to put malaria, a disease caused by anopheles mosquitoes, at bay.
Ohuabunwa said malaria thrives in dirty environment, thus cleaning the surroundings is non-negotiable to rid the country of the disease.
He said: “The PSN calls on the community to take action by cleaning your environment, get rid of stagnant water and pools; cover up gutters in residential areas and ensure your garden is not over grown. Interrupting at least three mosquito life cycles can potentially stop the transmission of malaria parasite by mosquito.”
The PSN President, however, said a concerted effort is required to achieve this and therefore called on Local Development Authorities to coordinate and implement an environmental policy to achieve this.
On the role of pharmacists, he said: “Pharmacists advise you on the use of long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito net and the use of topical mosquito repellant. They talk to you about new devices that can repel mosquito; counsel on general environment and lead charge to raise awareness about malaria. Nigerian pharmacists in research are also involved in research works on malaria vaccine.”
Ohuabunwa said in management of malaria cases, the pharmacists are: actively involved in identifying suspected cases of malaria; provide rapid diagnostic tests to confirm malaria; provide appropriate pharmacotherapy using Artemisinin combination therapy as first line in all positive cases; involved in the referral process where on initial presentation features of complicated malaria are already present; also actively involved in all the value chain including discovery, synthesis, regulations, manufacturing, logistics and policy making related to antimalarial medicines.
This, he said, ensures that the most effective therapy is available for all Nigerians wherever they may live.