The Head of Historical Pathology, Federal Medical Center, Keffi, Dr Garuba Yakubu, has advocated for more enlightenment campaigns to prevent malaria infection. “Malaria remains a major public health problem in Nigeria and a leading cause of death for under-five children,” Yakubu stated in an interview on Saturday.. He said residents must be encouraged to keep their environment clean and clear their drainage to avoid stagnant water which serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes. “Many people don’t know the damage malaria can cause to the human system and as such do not take prescribed drugs to combat it which is quite wrong,’’ he said. According to him, frequent blood tests can ensure that people get to know the degree of their infection and the right drugs to ensure effective treatment.
Yakubu advised people who are prone to malaria attacks to endeavour to relocate to mosquito free environment. He explained that “uncomplicated malaria” manifest in shivering, fever, headache, vomiting and seizures in young children. The expert, however, said complicated malaria result in clinical evidence of vital organ dysfunction which if untreated may lead to death. He listed the symptoms to include fever and chills, impaired consciousness, multiple convulsions, deep breath and respiratory distress, abnormal bleeding, anemia, jaundice and vital organ dysfunction. According to Yakubu, it is transmitted through an infected female anopheles mosquito, transfusion of infected blood, using needles and syringes with infected blood.
He said: “A patient who has fully recovered from malaria is unlikely going to the source of transmission.” “The surest way to control and prevent malaria is through vector control by preventing mosquito bite which can be achieved by sleeping under insecticide treated net, spraying inside walls with insecticides.” He added that other preventive measures include removing surface water, filling up ponds, drainage, ditches, potholes, providing accessible and affordable malaria diagnostic facilities, as well as accessible drugs for treatment. “A patient with malaria symptoms can be helped by giving First Aid which is to help bring down the temperature with paracetamol and afterward take the person to hospital for prompt medical care,’’ he said.