By Ugochukwu Alaribe
Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Abia State chapter, Dr. Carol Iwuoha, has explained that there is a huge difference between the treatment of malaria and COVID -19, adding that it is wrong to say that drugs for the former are being used to treat the latter.
Iwuoha, who spoke while reacting to insinuations over the alleged use of malaria drugs in the treatment of COVID-19, said “I don’t think that is correct for people to say that malaria drugs are being used to treat Covid-19.
“The difference between malaria and COVID-19 is that while one is a viral infection, another one is a parasitic infection. Their mode of transmission is different. If you don’t get bitten by a mosquito that carries the plasmodium parasite, you can’t go down with malaria.
“In the case of the virus, nothing is going to bite you; you contract it by getting in contact with droplets from an infected person. In terms of the management of both, though a lot of advances have been made for anti-malaria; at the same time, there are drugs that act directly against viruses.
“To say that malaria and COVID- 19 are the same is wrong because their mode of transmissions is different and the care given to the patients is different. We don’t isolate people with malaria because it is not easily transmissible from one person to person.
“They may be right in asking questions, but to make presumptions is where we have challenges. We are doing a trial to see if we can prove it because. You can only prove it only when you follow-up the cases to monitor if there will be any complication. You compare if those that were on the drug did better than those that were not on the drug.
“If you are just managing people and you don’t have control, then, it is not scientific data. Because of the panic of the new disease and the quest for a solution, there are so many assumptions and presumptions, but the ultimate is scientific evidence of what works.”
On the continued in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state the NMA chairman said “For the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, it is expected for a disease that moves from person to person.
She further explained that despite the intensive sensitization ongoing in communities and churches, most people were yet to accept the reality of the true situation at hand.
“With these new cases, we know that it is going to enhance the health education efforts that we have been giving to the patients, community, and churches because if they know that these cases are here with us, I think that it will drive home the message; that it is not just a government thing. It is something that has to do with our ability to take responsibility for the challenges that we have in our hands.”
Iwuoha urged Abia people to practice personal hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water, wear face masks, avoid touching their nose, mouth, and eyes with their bare hands, use of sanitizer in the absence of water as well as maintain social distance.