During a meeting with journalists in Lagos recently, the Director, Malaria project, Society for Family Health, Dr. Ernest Nwokolo has said that not less than 800 Nigerians die every day in the country due to malaria. He likened the deaths to the crashing of two Boeing 747 aircraft everyday in the country, adding that if it were plane crashes that were killing 800 Nigerians every day, by now there would have been a national emergency, not only from the government, but from the citizens in addressing the issue as quickly as possible.
Nwokolo said the number of deaths experienced by the scourge can be reduced drastically if Nigerians no longer embrace malaria as part of their lifestyle or refer to it as ordinary malaria.
“When Nigerians imbibe all preventive measures against the scourge, including keeping their environment clean, removing stagnant water from the environment, consistent use of long lasting insecticide treated nets and proper diagnosis before treatment, it would go a long way in curbing the burden of malaria in the country. Meanwhile, the Head, Case Management Branch, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr. Godwin Ntadom said malaria indices was drastically reducing in the country with recent statistics showing its prevalence in Imo State was now 5.1 per cent, while that of Lagos was now less than one per cent. “Malaria indices are near zero in Lagos, and most of those claiming they have malaria in Lagos do not actually have it,” he emphasized. He said the narrative on malaria was changing in the country due to the reduced prevalence compared to decades ago. “In 1991, the narrative was that if you have fever, it was best to treat for malaria. But in 2011, the policy says when one has fever, its best to go for diagnosis to know if it is malaria or any other ailment,” adding that, for one to be sure he or she was to treat malaria, a diagnosis must first confirm it. “Otherwise, the person might end up treating another illness, while thinking he or she is treating malaria.