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Why Malaria Remains A Killer, By Expert

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The Deputy Director, Re
search and Head of Malaria Research Programme, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Dr Sam Awolola says malaria is endemic in Nigeria
According to him, “It is responsible for absenteeism at workplaces and, as such, affects productivity because of loss of man-hour,” he said.
Explaining the mode of transmission, he said: “Malaria is caused by a parasite called plasmodium carried by an anopheles mosquito.
“There are several species of plasmodium depending on where people are. There are some that even attack animals, the one that attacks human is called plasmodium falciparum, this is found in Nigeria, other African countries and Asia”.
Besides, 98 per cent of malaria is caused by mosquitoes having plasmodium falciparum.
Malariaa has become widespread in Nigeria because most environments are dirty and therefore become breeding ground for anopheles mosquitoes.
Awolola continued, “An anopheles mosquito gets the parasites from an infected person through bites, then the parasites go into the mosquito to develop into what is called the infected stage and after two or three days the mosquito goes back to bite again and transmit the parasites into human body.
The researcher said the most efficient mosquito, which transmits malaria parasites, is common in the country because of its geographical location.
Awolola said artemisinim-based combination therapy (ACT) is the most effective drug for malaria treatment.
Talking about cure, he said, chloroquine has failed. This, he said, is because there are parasites that have become resistant to it, particularly owing to its mismanagement.
He said chloroquine is still a very effective drug, however, but most people take substandard dosage while some do not take the required regimen and so the parasites have developed resistance to the drug. “This is why we changed from chloroquine and other monotherapies to ACT. ACT is a combination of two different drugs of two varying modes of action therefore it is very effective against the parasites. In Cambodia and other parts of Asia they have also resulted to ACT. That cannot mean there is no resistance to ACT. What we try to do at NMIR is to be vigilant. This effort is called pharmaco vigilance. We monitor the use of chloroquine in the field, and the parasites with reaction to chloroquine, we’ve researched into how the drug has been effective over the parasites over the years,” he said.
For the prevention of the disease, he said there are three things which people must do.
The first, they should use long lasting insecticide nets. There is also indoor residual spray where people put chemical on the wall of the houses thereby killing the mosquitoes that come in. Another method is to use personal preventive measures where people can use aerosol in the houses.
Expectant mothers, he said, can prevent malaria. “This is called preventive measure in pregnancy, in intermittent preventive treatment . For children, there is intermittent preventive measure. This is because many children die from malaria. Drugs are also meant for that.
“The best prevention however which is better than cure, is the one that prevents you from having malaria and the best method is to sleep under LLINs or your house gets treated with IRS,” he said.
Besides, they are very effective and must be used according to instructions. “However ,there are challenges in this area because mosquitoes are also adapting to the environment as the getting resistant to the insecticides. Atimes, you see some mosquitoes on the net and don’t die after being sprayed with insecticide that is called insecticide resistance.

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HIV: FG Restates Commitment To Prevent HIV Among Adolescents

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The Federal Government yesterday restated its commitment to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among adolescents in the country.
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with NACA, UNFPA, UNICEF, launched a document on prevention of HIV in Abuja.
The document is integrated into three titles; “The HIV Investment Case for Adolescents and Young People (2021-2025), The National Condom Operational Plan (2021-2025) and National Condom and Lubricants Quantification (2021-2025).”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Sen. Yahaya Oloriegbe, identified condom as key in the prevention of the spread of HIV among young people.
Oloruigbe, who commended the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and partners for the effort, called for local production of condoms.
“We need to look inwards by encouraging local manufacturing of condoms in view of government’s dwindling resources, as well as breaking away from over dependence on international donors,” he said.
The Director General of NACA, Dr Gambo Aliyu,asserted the agency’s success in the containment of HIV through prevention and treatment responses.
Aliyu said that the country was committed to achieving the 2030 target of 95-95-95 through collaboration with stakeholders by investing in adolescents.
He added, “we have made huge success when it comes to treatment and prevention with drastic reduction in transmission.”
The NACA boss however affirmed the belief of the agency in using the document to achieve the 95-95-95 target for 2030.
Mrs Zainab Garba of the Federal Ministry of Health commended NACA for launching the document, saying it would enhance young people’s access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.
Garba reiterated the importance of condom in reducing the spread of HIV and maternal deaths among young people, saying it was key in preventing all manners of sexually transmitted infections.

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Doctor Warns Against Indiscriminate Use Of Contraceptives

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A medical expert, Dr Umar Musa, on Monday warned women against indiscriminate use of contraceptives.
Dr Musa, President, Kaduna State Resident Doctors Association, gave the advice when he spoke with newsmen in Kaduna, noted the indiscriminate consumption of contraceptives to ward off unwanted pregnancies and cautioned that while they could forestall unwanted pregnancies, contraceptives were not antidotes for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
He said there was a particular contraceptive pill in hot demand, but also cautioned that its indiscriminate consumption could delay conception or damage the uterus.
“Too much of this contraceptive will weaken the wall of the womb and damage the uterus which will cause miscarriages in the future.
“There are lots of risks associated with the constant use of this drug. Most ladies consume contraceptives in clinically unsafe ways.
“They use these drugs without knowing the way they interact with the body system and forgetting that people react to drugs in different ways,’’ he said.
Musa also advocated tighter restrictions on the sale of contraceptives and suggested that the use of condoms was an option to stave off unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
“While a condom may look like a major inconvenience and a fun killer for many, it would protect one from sexually transmitted diseases and prevent pregnancy”.

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Covid-19: NCDC Records 213 New Infections, Two Deaths

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Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) recorded 213 additional new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 171, 324, as of July 26, 2021.
The NCDC disclosed this on its official Twitter handle yesterday morning.
The health agency also stated that it recorded two Covid-19 related deaths on Monday, while additional nine people recovered from the virus, as of July 26, 2021.
It added that the new infections were recorded in 12 states, namely: Lagos-157, Rivers-20, Plateau-12, Enugu-6, Oyo-6, Gombe-3, Bauchi-2, Imo-2, Kaduna-2, Edo-1, Ekiti-1, and Ogun-1.
It noted that since the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease in the country on February 27, 2020, a total of 2,134 persons lost their lives, while 164,798 recovered from the virus and discharged from health centres across the country.
NCDC added that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 2, had continued to coordinate the national response activities.
It stated  that the country tested more than 2.4 million samples for the virus and had detected 10 Covid-19 Delta variant, recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility.
The variant had been detected in over 100 countries and may spread further.
The variant has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation. There are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics.

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