One of the health problems of Africa is malaria. Malaria is a deadly disease that has claimed millions of lives in Africa. The problem of malaria has given serious concern to many authorities in the world including the authorities of Nigeria. Meanwhile, in an effort to address the problem of malaria the Rivers State Government has distributed more than one million mosquito treated nets within the last one year to households in the state. Revealing this at a seminar on malaria control in Port Harcourt recently, the Director, Malaria Control Unit, in the state Ministry of Health, Dr Justina Jumbo, decried the under utilisation of the nets by beneficiaries. She emphasised that this had hampered the campaign against malaria parasites in the state. Dr Jumbo adds that the state government plans to partner with patent medicine vendors to fight the disease.
However, beneficiaries of the mosquito treated nets should make every effort to use the nets as directed by the Ministry of Health. The nets are distributed to check the parasites being introduced into the body system as a result of mosquito bites. It should be noted that these parasites cause the death of millions of people in tropical Africa. Those who have got the nets should not therefore hesitate to utilise them. The nets and distributed to save them from mosquito bites and early death. We have since gathered that some beneficiaries of these mosquito treated nets sell them at the markets to make money instead of using them. This is a condemnable behaviour. The nets are distributed to save them from dying early following mosquito bites. Why then will they sell them to make money. Beneficiaries are therefore advised to stop the habit and make use of the mosquito treated nets to save them from imminent death.
In a similar effort to control malaria in the state, the Rivers State Government decided to collaborate with a Cuban Company to build a malaria control factory in Port Harcourt. Speaking when the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Elio Savour Oliva visited him at Government House in Port Harcourt recently, Governor Rotimi Amaechi said since the partnership had blossomed into an agreement he was confident that in five years malaria would be eradicated in Rivers State. He assured the Cuban Ambassador that his government was prepared to fulfil its part of the agreement so that there would be reduced cases of malaria in Rivers State. He stated that the’ Port Harcourt malaria control factory when completed would produce about six million cubic litres of vector insecticides for malaria control.
Also speaking, the Cuban Ambassor Mr Oliva said they were in a special mission to the state to collaborate with the state government to fight the deadly vector and malaria parasites. He stressed that Cuba was ready to assist the state government to eradicate malaria by building the malaria control factory adding that the factory would be first of its kind in Africa. ‘The Ambassador said this represented the first major cooperation between Cuba and Rivers State Government. As already noted, malaria is a deadly tropical disease that has killed millions of people in Africa. We, therefore, welcome the cooperation between the Rivers State Government and Cuba to fight the disease and the malaria vector. Evidently, the factory when completed will go a long way in checking malaria in this part of the world. The Rivers State Government should therefore not relent in this.
Meanwhile, the representative of the National Roll Back Malaria Programmes, Dr Olayemi Shofolu has announced that about 300,000 children died from malaria attack every year in Nigeria. Dr. Shofulu announced this recently while visiting the Ekiti State Governor Mr Segun Oni in Ado-Ekiti. He described malaria as a deadly killer which must be eradicated in the country. Dr. Shofolu said that the deadly disease was responsible for the death of over eleven percent of pregnant women in the country annually stressing that fifty percent of Nigerians were vulnerable to the killer disease. He appealed to the three levels of government in the country to pool resources to eradicate malaria in Nigeria. Responding, Governor Oni said his government had already commenced the free distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets to boarding schools and pregnant women. He emphasised that the state would partner with the National Roll Back Malaria Programmes in the country.
In any case, we are all aware that malaria is one of the deadliest diseases in the world. We should, therefore, make every relevant and necessary effort to eradicate malaria in the country. According to World Health Organisation report, malaria parasites account for thirty percent of all hospital admission in the tropical region and twenty-five percent of death among children under five years. However, malaria is a deadly tropical disease whose vector is mosquito. A definitive cure, therefore, means killing all the mosquitoes in our region. We should therefore wake up to the challenge of malaria.
Dr. Tolofari is a Fellow, Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria.