A public health expert, Professor Ikeoluwapo Ajayi, has asked the Federal Government to invest in scaling up the Home Management of Malaria (HMM) strategy.
Ajayi spoke at an inaugural lecture entitled ‘Who will Go? Send Me: Moving Effective Malaria Interventions to Mothers and Caregivers in the Community, at the University of Ibadan.
The medical expert said researches have shown that if mothers and caregivers are trained, they can help in the prevention and treatment of malaria in their communities.
She said that the World Malaria Report recorded in 2019 that there were about 219 million cases of malaria in 2017 and 217 million in 2016.
Ajayi, a lecturer at the Department of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, University of Ibadan, said that Nigeria had more cases of malaria recorded globally, adding that older children from six to 10 are increasingly infected in the last few years in Africa.
“We need more research to understand why the control measures put in place have not reduced the burden and why interventions are not deployed as well as how they can be deployed,” she said.
The don said that the use of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) remained the best medicines for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.
She, however, said that relevant stakeholders should intensify efforts in the health sector to educate the populace on the correct home management of malaria.
The don said that the risk of death from severe malaria was highest within 24 hours, adding that prompt action must be taken when a child develops the symptoms.
According to her, “The Nigerian government should implement the home management of malaria scale-up plan. Health care interventions are feasible at the community level and laypersons, if trained and supervised, could contribute to the healthcare of their communities.
“Getting to the people in the hard-to-reach areas and rural communities that lack amenities and drugs is an effective way of curtailing malaria in the country.
“The national malaria elimination programme scaling up the management of malaria strategy to ensure that malaria is being correctly managed in the home is really going to help this nation in its efforts to combat malaria.
“The rural communities lack amenities and drugs hence, the parasite keeps going from one person to another, aiding the transmission. Home management of malaria is key because many doctors don’t like to go to hard- to-reach areas.
“If we have the community people doing it correctly themselves, it would go a long way in reducing the burden of malaria.
“I see this helping the country to eliminate malaria. It is one of the key strategies that we need. It is not it alone that we have different strategies that should be put together to make the controlled effort to be very effective.”