The recently concluded world day for malaria should give us pause to think… how is it that the western world where there is little or no malaria seem to be more bothered about the issue than we that have the problem? The statistics for Nigeria are not flattering for the nation neither are the implications good for its populace.
What the stats say is that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria in Africa. 90% of global occurrences of malaria happens in the developing world, sub Saharan Africa to be precise and two countries…Nigeria and Republic of Congo …account for more than half of this prevalence. This really is cause for pause and begs the question: how can the statistics show that Nigeria still accounts for a high percentage of the incidence of malaria worldwide when there are interventions in place to stop malaria. Are the interventions not working? Are the interventions being implemented on paper or haphazardly? Who has the burden of proof?
There is a debate on whether malaria causes poverty or poverty causes malaria…either way, malaria is something that we should actively seek to eradicate from our country. However, irrespective of the high morbidity and mortality rates from malaria not to mention the economic implications and consequences, we seem to be disinterested in playing our role to ensure that we do not create environments that provide conducive breeding grounds for mosquitoes which are the vectors for this disease. We accuse our government of having a lackadaisical attitude to the issues that plague this great nation but are we not guilty of the same especially when it comes to issues where we can relatively help ourselves?
We can help ourselves in the following ways:
- Use insecticide treated nets especially for pregnant mothers and children under the age of five
- Keep our environment clean (no stagnated water, dirty gutters or surroundings, no grass etc)
- Spray your house with insecticide
- Get informed. For example, there are rapid diagnostic tests available now in pharmacies which can quickly determine if you have malaria when you don’t feel well
Don’t forget what they say “prevention is better than cure”