By Sola Ogundipe
In line with the 2019, World Malaria Day theme: “Zero Malaria Starts with Me,” Vanguard Newspapers in collaboration with Rotary Club and the Pest Control Association of Nigeria, PECAN, on Thursday carried out free fumigation exercise in Kirikiri area of Lagos.
The community outreach programme which also saw the distribution of insecticide-treated nets to staff and residents was also used to enlighten the community on how serious malaria can be as well as, the need to sleep under insecticide-treated the nets.
Every, April 25th, the world commemorates World Malaria Day, to highlight the successes of efforts at curbing the scourge of malaria and the plight of the disease around the World. According to the WHO’s “World Malaria Report 2017,” there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria, an increase of about 5 million cases over 2015 in 2016, while deaths reached 445,000, a similar number to the previous year.
Malaria remains one of the world’s leading killer diseases, claiming the life of one child every two minutes, according to the WHO. Most of the deaths are in Africa, where over 250,000 children die from the disease every year.
Speaking during the programme, the Administrative Manager, Vanguard Newspapers, Mr Hassan Balogun explained that malaria outreach programme was one of the series of Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, of the Vanguard Group.
“We are collaborating with our partners today, to enlighten our staff, and the entire community about the seriousness of malaria and the need to prevent it. We intend to make it an annual programme as part of our CSR. We have done other programmes in the past like free health checks for staff and residents in Kirikiri as part of efforts to keep our staff healthy,“ he stated.
Addressing the participants at the event which held at the head Office of Vanguard Newspapers, Apapa, Lagos, the President of the Rotary Club of Gbagada, Lagos, Dr Basirat Giwa said the programme was designed to wage war against mosquitoes in and around Kirikiri environs.
Basirat, who spoke extensively on the need to prevent malaria explained that Insecticide-treated nets help in reducing the risk of malaria in pregnant women and children dismissed alleged fears expressed by would be users of the treated nets saying that Insecticide-treated nets are safe for use as a personal protection method from malaria.
Studies have shown that in community-wide trials in several African settings that ITNs reduced the death of children under-5 years from all causes by about 20 percent.
She said the insecticides that are used for treating bed nets kill mosquitoes, as well as other insects. The insecticides also repel mosquitoes, reducing the number that enters the house and attempts to feed on people inside.
Noting that malaria causes a lot of financial burden to the family and the country at large, she encouraged especially pregnant women and children under five years, to sleep under the net to avoid mosquito bites.
Demonstrating how the ITNs should be used, she explained that the nets should be washed with mild soap and dried under a shade to avoid direct contact with the sunlight since the sun rays could destroy chemical potency of the nets.
Giwa further noted that if the nets are used as prescribed it can last for about four years.
Speaking President of the Pest Control Association, Mr. Kunle Williams, who described malaria as one of the biggest killer of man, stressed the need to prevent mosquitoes in the environment by ensuring that there are no stagnant water, and unused water.
On the theme of the day, Zero malaria starts with me, Williams urged every Nigerian to join in the fight against malaria.
“How can everyone be part of malaria elimination? Everybody should be a part of the fight by making sure that the environment is neat, without mosquitoes in our environment we will not go to the hospital.
“We advise that people should not allow stagnant water in their environment. Make sure your environment is clean and dispose of unused water. When the environment is neat, the mosquito bites that cause malaria will stop. This is why we decided to partner with Vanguard today. If we don’t have mosquitoes in our environment we will not have to go to the hospital for malaria treatment,” he stated.
On his part, Mr Somoye Micheal who lamented poor drainage system throughout the country said he blamed the increasing incidences of malaria to blocked drainages as mosquitoes continued to breed in them.
“Smallest atom of water retained in the drainages will bring about mosquitoes so if our drainages can be well constructed, refocused and reconstructed to allow easy flow of the drainages, we will reduce cases of malaria and eliminate mosquitoes. We are encouraging the breeding of mosquitoes. And if there are mosquitoes, there will be malaria. Go to our hospital today, we have 26 general hospitals in Lagos state, two tertiary institutions, all those who are visiting there every day, 70 percent of them are having malaria.
“Malaria is the most prevalent disease in Nigeria. We have a programme called, ‘Roll Back Malaria.’ It’s a pity we have refused to roll it back, but we are rolling malaria forward, “he lamented.
Speaking, National Coordinator, Rotarians against Malaria, Mr. Dele Balogun, who noted there can’t be malaria without mosquito, said: “If we prevent the mosquito from breeding in the environment, prevent breeding sites, there will be no mosquito. If there is mosquito there will be no malaria, so if you want to prevent malaria, one of the best ways is by preventing mosquito.
He called for a policy whereby Nigerian families are mandated to sleep under a treated bed net against mosquitoes.
The 2019 World Malaria Day theme: “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” is apt, as it is a call to action. It reminds citizens everywhere, and particularly in malaria burdened countries, that they not only have personal responsibility in protecting their families, communities and countries from this preventable disease, but also the power to hold leaders accountable for meeting their commitments to end the disease.
Zero Malaria Starts with Me is also a continent-wide campaign for a malaria-free Africa. Co-led by the African Union Commission and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, the campaign will support African nations in their efforts toward malaria elimination through.