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Don cautions against treating malaria without proper diagnosis

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Oyibo, has urged medics to ensure that patients who present with symptoms of malaria are properly diagnosed before the commencement of treatment.<br />Photo: PIXABAY

Coordinator of the ANDI Centre of Excellence for Malaria, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Prof. Wellington Oyibo, has urged medics to ensure that patients who present with symptoms of malaria are properly diagnosed before the commencement of treatment.

Oyibo, who spoke during a 12-day international intensive malaria certificate course, which ended yesterday and held at the Dr D. K. Olukoya Central Research Laboratories, noted that malaria misdiagnosis was a big challenge in the country. He stated that the major objective of the course was to build the capacity of malaria microscopists to strengthen and support national, state and organisational malaria diagnosis with excellence.

“Early diagnosis and prompt, effective treatment is the basis for the management of malaria and key to reducing malaria mortality. Demonstration of the presence of malaria parasites prior to treatment with anti-malarial drugs is fundamental to this goal, as clinical diagnosis has poor accuracy and leads to over-diagnosis of malaria with resultant poor management of non-malarial febrile illness and wastage of anti-malarial drugs.

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“While microscopy remains the mainstay of parasite-based diagnosis in most large clinics and hospitals, the quality of microscopy-based diagnosis is frequently inadequate for ensuring good health outcomes and optimal use of resources. An acceptable microscopy service is one that is cost-effective, provides results that are consistently accurate and timely enough to have a direct impact on treatment.

This requires capacity building and a comprehensive quality assurance programme.”

He revealed that the malaria prevalence rate in the country has come down from 42 per cent in 2010 to 23 per cent presently, adding: “When prevalence is coming down like this, it means we should begin to look at how people are presenting. All people who present with symptoms of malaria should be tested. If you don’t test and begin to treat malaria, you will get it wrong.

“There are about 320 organisms that cause fever. Out of this number, you just assume that only one is causing it. What about the one you don’t know? When the patient sees it later, that patient can be hospitalised, spend more money and could die.”

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