By Chioma Obinna
On this year’s World Malaria Day, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, has called on communities across the country to take action against malaria by cleaning their environment.
At a medis forum to commemorate the Day in Lagos, the President of PSN, Pharm Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa urged Nigerians to be active with the theme: “Zero Malaria Starts with Me”, by getting rid of stagnant water and pools, covering up gutters in residential areas while ensuring the garden was not overgrown.
Ohuabunwa said interrupting at least three mosquito life cycles can potentially stop the transmission of malaria parasite by mosquitoes.
“A concerted effort is required to achieve this, so we call on Local Council Development Authorities to coordinate and implement an environmental policy to achieve this.
“We also call on other health professionals to come ensure a quick and effective response to save lives especially in at risk populations- children under 5 and pregnant women,” he stated.
Ohuabunwa who insisted that zero malaria was possible said to end malaria for good, while communities are taking actions to control the vector, health professionals must do their part by providing effective treatment.
He said a combination of disruption of breeding and elimination of the parasite from the system has been proven to lead to zero malaria.
The PSN President further called on the Federal Ministry of Health to strengthen the National Malaria Surveillance by incorporating reports from pharmacists operating in a community setting.
Noting that pharmacists are also involved in malaria treatments and prevention, he disclosed that evidence currently showed that most patients visit their community pharmacists when the suspect malaria and that data reports from community pharmacists would help improve data quality and intervention strategies.
Throwing light on the seriousness of malaria, Ohuabunwa also urged parents to take sustainable actions that will eliminate malaria in order to protect the children who are among the worst hit by malaria.
He recalled that the 2017 World Malaria report revealed that children aged under 5 were the most vulnerable group affected by malaria and they accounted for 61 percent of all malaria deaths worldwide.
Quoting the report he said: “Nearly 80 percent of global malaria deaths in 2017 were concentrated in 17 countries in the WHO African Region and India, seven of these countries accounted by 53 percent of all global malaria deaths. Nigeria has 19 percent, DRC 11 percent among others.”
He further noted that pharmacists also play three roles in the fight for zero malaria including malaria prevention, case management and policy advocacy.