…state has only 2% burden- NMEP
The Head of Case Management, National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP), Dr. Godwin Ntadom, has warned against too many malaria positive results doled out by several quack laboratories in Lagos State saying that these results could be false.
Speaking during a media interactive forum in Lagos, organized by NMEP with support from Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3), Dr. Ntadom said there are many unqualified lab scientists and unregistered laboratories across the nation and most of the results from these labs are not right.
According to him, Lagos state has managed to reduce the burden of malaria in the state to only 2 per cent.
“When we say 2 per cent, it means that there are places you will go in Lagos and you will not see malaria, there are other places you will go and you will see 10 or 15 per cent cases. But the general average is 2 per cent and this is far better than what we have in other states.
“So if you live in Lagos and you have fever, don’t assume it is malaria, there are other illness that present with fever such as Lassa fever. There is need for diagnosis before treatment. After the test, if the result is positive, get treated immediately. we are moving from the point where malaria was very endemic- where you have over 40 per cent of people testing positive, to the point where less than 30 per cent are testing positive”, he said.
Furthermore, he noted that Nigerians have over-diagnosed and over-treated malaria, basing their diagnosis on symptoms and their feelings. “some will tell you, I know how I feel when I have malaria; my mouth will feel bitter, I will have sore on my lips, but this is not it”, he said.
According to Dr. Ntadom, over diagnoses can also occur when you don’t test before diagnoses. “There are instances when people feel symptoms of malaria, they go and buy ACT and consume. Three days later, they feel another symptom and go to buy another malaria tablet. This is wrong because malaria cannot occur that frequently. At least it takes about fifteen days before you can have another attack so individuals do not get exposed to malaria that often”, he explained.
On how Lagos was able to eliminate malaria, Dr. Ntadom said; “Lagos has been very proactive in the fight again malaria. They have a committee thinking about malaria and devising means of eliminating it. Again the population has the elites and educated people who know that they have to put net in their house, spray it with insecticides and go to hospital when sick”.
On the treatment of choice, he maintained that Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies ACT is still the best drug recommended for the treatment of malaria. “Monotherapies such as Chloroquine and Artesunate has been banned for treatment of malaria so it is criminal to use monotherapy for treatment except in injections”, he advised.