Pharmacists, Lagos govt call for action against malaria

The Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) and Lagos State government have called for concerted and prompt actions to end malaria scourge in the country.

They made the call at Bariga Local Council Development Area secretariat in Bariga, Lagos during a programme organised by the national body of the AHAPN in collaboration with its Lagos chapter to mark the World Malaria Day.

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Speaking on the sub-theme, ‘Continued Relevance of Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACTs) in the treatment of malaria,’ the association’s National Chairman, Dr Kingsley Amibor, said, ACTs are the most effective antimalarial medicines available today.

According to him, an estimated 409 million treatment courses of ACT were procured by countries in 2016, an increase from 311 million in 2015.

He, however, said an ongoing study from Federal Medical Centre, Asaba indicated that about 70 per cent of patients completed their dose of ACT and about 25 per cent went back to the doctor within four weeks to complain of the same symptoms of malaria.

Dr Amibor cautioned that ACTs are rendered less effective if taken with multivitamins containing vitamin C, stressing that “co-administration of orange juice, grapefruit juice or vitamin C concomitantly with artesunate or amodiaquine severely diminished the efficacy and potency of the drugs.”

For the continued relevance of ACTs in the treatment of malaria, he declared, “this requires that the right ACT be used for the right patient with the right diagnosis at the right dose for the right duration at the right cost via the right route.”

Director of Pharmaceutical Service, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Moyosere Adejumo, identified malaria as a huge public health challenge facing the nation.

Dr Adejumo said reducing the scourge of malaria is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders, including the governments at all levels.

She stated: “The War against malaria is one that must be won. The Lagos State Government is very committed to this fight; we must all come together to fight malaria and this can be achieved when we begin to realize that ‘Zero Malaria starts with me.’’

AHAPN chairman, Lagos State chapter, Mrs Titilayo Onedo, said the screening conducted by the association to commemorate the day cut across kidney disease, sugar level and high blood pressure.

“We screened 200 participants for malaria parasites.  Over 1,000 doses of adult and children anti-malarial were donated,” Onedo said.

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