The Federal Government has advised Nigerians against taking malaria
treatment before a confirmed laboratory test. Dr Audu Mohammed, the
National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP),
gave the advice at the second quarter media chat in Abuja. Mohammed,
who was represented by Mr Chukwu Okoronkwo, head of Advocacy,
Communication and Social Mobilisation, said that malaria is still a
major medium of morbidity and mortality in the country. He explained
that Nigerians must adopt the right health seeking behaviour for the
elimination of malaria. According to him, commencing malaria treatment
without laboratory test is highly discouraging. “Let me re-emphasise
that it is critical that Nigerians demand to be tested when they have
fever to be sure it is malaria before undergoing treatment with
Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACTs) if malaria is confirmed.
Make ACTs available, free to public health facilities in most states
of the federation. “We have started embarking on advocacy with all
relevant partners and governments at various levels to ensure the
provision of malaria commodities to the private health facilities at
subsidised rate,” he said. The coordinator disclosed that the WHO 2017
report indicated 57.3 million estimated cases of malaria in the
country, while only about 12.4 million cases were confirmed. Mohammed
enjoined the media to educate Nigerians on guidelines for treatment of
malaria, which recommended diagnosis in all suspected cases before
administration of treatment. “Usually, there are two types of tests,
microscopy and rapid diagnostic test. “The test is meant to provide
evidence of the malaria parasite in the blood of the patient before
he/she can be treated. “Our guidelines emphasis the importance of high
quality microscopy and where not feasible or available, quality
assured rapid diagnostic tests should be used,” he explained.

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