By Victor Arjiromanus
The Malaria Society of Nigeria in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, last week took the fight against malaria to rural communities Itele- Ijebu area of Ogun State as part of efforts to reduce drastically the dangers of malaria in Nigerian.
The groups, under the auspices of the World Health Organisation, WHO, converged at Itele Ijebu, Ogun state to offer free medical checkups and treatments, including Anti-malaria drugs and mosquito nets to the rural community dwellers.
The community members, who came out in their large numbers to receive medical care, expressed their satisfaction and appreciation.
In the views of the King Itele, Dr. Mufuatau Kasali: ‘This is the first time such a development is brought to our community and I am very happy with it because malaria has really caused a lot of havoc in this community, we live in a swampy area. In fact, just few days ago, one of my subjects, Uzo Okechukwu lost his life after battling a chronic malaria infection. There are other records of those who almost lost their lives from malaria. This is why I ensured every member of this community partake in this medical checkups.’’
A beneficiary who identified herself as Mrs Chidinma Obidike described the exercise as the best thing that has happened to the community at a time the people are facing a lot of hardship.
“I brought my three children here to check for malaria. We were tested free of charge, and given anti-malaria drugs and treated nets, which will help us save money. Also, we were sensitized on how to prevent malaria, which the information will be very useful to us.’’
Speaking on the rate of malaria and the extent to which it has be eradicated in Nigeria, the resident doctor NIMR, Dr. Aina said: “We still have a very long way to go to get to zero level in malaria infection in Nigeria. There are three levels to eradicate malaria; control level, elimination level and eradication level. “But Nigeria is still in the control level. To improve things, concentration should be more in the rural areas we found out that malaria is more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas, and all the while, interventions have previously been concentrated in the cities, so, we decided to concentrate in a rural community this time.”
On his part, President Malaria Society of Nigeria Dr, John Puddicombe said; ‘We believe the burden of malaria is higher at the grassroots, that is why over the years we take our programmes to the grass root that is why we are here. Nigeria needs to do much more in fighting malaria parasite.
“We all witness what happened in the last election, the government went to the nooks and crannies of the country for campaign, if we can also take such efforts to the grassroots on the awareness of being healthy, and it would go a long way in bringing down the number of people dying of malaria in the country.
There are other things that the government can do, like regular power supply, we are distributing nets, sleeping under these nets cause people to sweat profusely and because of this, people don’t use it. But if there is electricity and the fans are working they will use it. So, we need the government to improve in the power supply of the country. We also want underground drainage system, that way; the breathing site for mosquitoes will drastically reduce.’’
Sponsor of the campaign, MD Fand F Furniture, Mr. Banjo Onamusi shared his motivation.
‘I have learnt that it is always good to give back to the community. It’s not about me or people like me but the masses. I’m not a politician so this is not politically motivated, but, caring about the welfare of your people.”