A laboratory scientist, Mr Chinenye Nwekpe, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to always comply with the national policy on malaria that stipulates medical test before receiving treatment. Nwekpe, a former Chairman of Medical Laboratory Scientists, Enugu State chapter, made the plea in an interview in Enugu.

According to him, this will reduce unnecessary and irrational use of anti-malarial drugs. “Malaria policy states that every suspected malaria case must be tested and confirmed before treatment can be administered on patients. “This policy has been in force for many years in the country, but with little or no compliance by people,’’ he said.

Nwekpe said that implementing the policy might take time, but would save many lives at the end. The laboratory scientist also urged pharmacists and medicine store owners to desist from attending to any patient that refused to go for test before requesting for malaria treatment. He recommended the use of long-lasting insecticidal net, indoor residual spraying and environmental management as other methods of reducing the burden of malaria in Nigerian communities. Nwekpe said that keeping clean environment and eliminating mosquitoes breeding places would ensure low incidence of malaria. The National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) says, “In Nigeria the disease is responsible for 60 per cent outpatient visits to health facilities, 30 per cent childhood death. “Twenty-five per cent of death in children under one year and 11 per cent maternal death. “The financial loss due to malaria annually is estimated to be about N132 billion in form of treatment costs, prevention, loss of man-hours, yet it is a treatable and completely evitable disease.’’

Source: The Vanguard

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