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Untreated malaria kills – Expert

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From Winifred Bosa, Lagos

THE Consultant Family Physician at General Hospital, Ijede, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Jegede, has disclosed that poorly treated or untreated malaria can lead to complications and untimely death.

  Speaking on the commemoration of the Y2022 World Malaria Day, the family physician described complicated malaria as the malaria with a heavy parasite load in the body making the patient exhibit cerebral symptoms, severe anaemia, shock, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and convulsion, stating that these complications could lead to untimely death.

  Describing malaria as a preventable and treatable disease that has the tendency of a continuous devastating impact on the health and socio-economic status of people around the world, Dr. Jegede affirmed that it is most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa and is usually caused by a parasite known as Plasmodium Falciparum.

  “Infection is usually acquired through the bite of an infected female Anopheles Mosquito and some types of the malaria parasite can lie dormant in the body for up to a year”, he stated.

  The don stressed that fever, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, muscler joint pain, feeling of discomfort, headache, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate and cough are some of the signs and symptoms of malaria.

  He further disclosed that a report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2020 affirmed that there are an estimated 241 million cases of malaria worldwide, out of which the estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 627,000.

  In preventing the scourge of malaria, the family physician stated that WHO recommends effective vector control, which is the cheapest and most effective mode of preventing malaria.

 He also averred that keeping the environment clean, preventing the formation of stagnant breeding pools of water, clearing and getting rid of surrounding bushes, use of Insecticide-Treated Nets (ITNs) and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) will help in reducing the disease burden in most settings.

  Other preventive measures for reducing malaria, according to him, include introducing an antimalaria vaccine among children living in regions with moderate to high Plasmodium Falciparum malaria transmission and the use of preventive antimalaria drugs, among others.

  Dr. Jegede, however, implored health care workers to continue to create awareness of the disease burden and educate the community on both environmental and personal hygiene strategies aimed at more effective vector control, distribution of free or highly affordable insecticide-treated nets, and proper education on its use.

  He added that there is a need for all concerned to work as a team to be more innovative in reducing the scourge of the disease and achieve elimination in our community, as already witnessed in some parts of the world.

  Every 24th of April is recognised by the World Health Organisation as World Malaria Day and this year’s theme is: “Harness Innovation to Reduce the Malaria Disease Burden to Save Lives”.

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