CLOSING THE MALARIA PREVENTION GAP

CLOSING THE MALARIA PREVENTION GAP
Another 25th April is here again, World Malaria Day is a day to celebrate and bring awareness of the global efforts to reduce the burden of malaria worldwide. Malaria is heavily concentrated in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa, and targets particularly vulnerable groups of infants, children and pregnant women. According to WHO’s World Malaria Report, in 2015 alone, there were an estimated 212 million new cases of malaria, claiming about 429 000 mainly young African children.
The cost of malaria can be measured physically in terms of lives lost and disabilities following complications of malaria. In economic terms, indirect cost from lost man hours due to time spent on admission, time spent for caring sick children, absenteeism from work and school and the direct cost of treatment etc. At the country level, the burden of malaria takes a toll in budgetary provision on malaria control.
Malaria is best managed by prevention and doing so by targeting the vulnerable groups of pregnant women, infants and children. The gold standard of malaria prevention has been vector control and prevention by drugs. Vector control is tackled by Long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) and Indoor residual spraying (IRS) using insecticides. While the LLINs with care and good maintenance can last up to 3 years, the IRS when done can last up to 3 – 6 months depending on the type of insecticide used and the type of surface. The catch to malaria prevention is consistent and correct use, people are known to hang up mosquito nets and sleep under it and not in it, if a fumigation was done last 9 months ago, one cannot expect not to suffer malarial illness. In terms of drugs used to prevent malaria, health care professionals offer drugs to women during pregnancy, 3 doses which they must complete in pregnancy to prevent preterm complications, stillbirths or newborn death. Infants also have an intermittent treatment given to them to prevent malaria that coincides with their immunization schedule at 10 weeks, 14 weeks and 9 months. Gaps however still exist in these prevention options; lack of access to drugs, nets or other supplementary strategies such as repellants, affordability, weak government systems on malaria control programmes and poor knowledge of the dangers and sequalae of malaria infection.
While International donors and National governments make frantic efforts to reduce the incidence of malaria and ultimately eradicate it, our strong opinion on this issue is that the onus lies on the individual or parent to consciously understand the full ramifications of malaria and take deliberate efforts to prevent it entirely.
We at SwiftMedicals have as one of our core values, customer education and dissemination of credible health information. We also connect our clients and customers directly to authentic brands on various health products and services, eliminating middle men and assuring best prices on quality assured products. Health products are gotten on the go, at the click of a button and delivered at the customer’s convenience. All these are our contributions in reducing the malaria burden in Nigeria, and we can say it is sure making an impact.
From insecticide treated nets, insecticides for indoor spraying, repellant creams and sprays, easily accessible and affordable artemisinin combination therapy for malarial treatment, this year’s World Malaria Day, should not pass by without you making a deliberate commitment to close the gaps that give malaria entry to cause you illness and deplete your resources.

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