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How adequate nutrition, sleep can help prevent malaria in children – Nancy Umeh

By Guardian Nigeria
12 October 2022   |   2:14 pm
Nancy Umeh, an author, registered nurse, public health consultant, and professional chef, has advised parents on other ways they can deploy to ensure their children and wards live malaria free lives. Malaria has continued to be endemic in Nigeria, defying various solutions that have been preferred. Lack of political will by the government has also…

Nancy Umeh is a registered nurse, public health consultant, author, and professional chef.

Nancy Umeh, an author, registered nurse, public health consultant, and professional chef, has advised parents on other ways they can deploy to ensure their children and wards live malaria free lives.

Malaria has continued to be endemic in Nigeria, defying various solutions that have been preferred. Lack of political will by the government has also been fingered by experts on why it has lingered on, as well as disregard for basic environmental caution by Nigerians.

Malaria accounts for the highest number of deaths in the country, in spite of the increased awareness among its citizens. It is highly prevalent among children and, according to Umeh, Nigeria alone is responsible for 32 per cent of the almost 700,000 global annual deaths, with children being the major casualties.

In an advice on her Instagram page, Umeh who deliberately prioritizes children’s health and nutrition, has urged parents to ensure they allow their kids have adequate nutrition, sleep and also play well, in addition to the uncompromising use of mosquito nets for babies.

“Nigeria alone accounts for 32% of the over 627,000 annual malaria deaths worldwide. With children under 5 years old accounting for about 80% of those deaths. Plasmodium falciparum is the deadly parasite in our midst and if your children are getting infected twice a year, we have to take malaria prevention seriously,” she wrote.

Enumerating measures parents can adopt to prevent the devastating illness, Umeh further wrote: “prevention: adequate nutrition, sleep, play and children with enough in their immunity do not get malaria often. Please use mosquito nets for our babies. A mosquito is enough to cause havoc! Stop exposing them to harm in the name of interior decor.

“Spray…but they are getting resistant to these sprays + asthmatic children don’t do well with them. Get anti malaria prevention medication (perennial or seasonal for children, pregnant women, etc). Get the malaria vaccine RTSS/ASO1 is barely available here but try.

“Keep your environment clean and dry (especially if you live in waterlogged areas). Mosquito repellents with diethyltoluamide. These new age machines/hand bands etc that stuck out/prevent bites are really not effective long term (might help). Bottom line…Don’t let these mosquitoes serve you breakfast. Prevention is key,” she added.

Umeh has authored a number of books on cooking recipes for healthy living. She bagged a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with first class honours from the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom, in 2012.

Before seeking further knowledge abroad, she graduated top of her class at the School of Nursing, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), where she acquired her associate degree in Nursing in 2009.

Umeh is particularly passionate about parents raising healthy children. She has dedicated time to educating especially women on why their children may be picky when it comes to foods.