Malaria: Resistance to current therapy gives growing concern, says Scientist



An Ambassador of the Medical Laboratory Science Profession, Amb. Odinaka  Obeta, has said that malaria resistance to current therapies was now a growing concern.

Obeta, who is also the National Project Coordinator of the Block Malaria Project (BMP), and also in Nigeria, disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , on Saturday in Abuja.

He said that the global health authorities have placed a high priority on developing new strategies for the control and elimination of the malaria parasites.

He noted that although current antimalarial treatments were effective, malaria still cause considerable number of deaths each year and as such was the world’s fastest growing vector borne disease.

Obeta explained that developing new classes of drugs that would not only treat the disease or prevent its patient-to-patient spread but also combat the consistently modifying resistant strains of the parasite would be an important step toward the goal of eradication.

“Plasmodium the parasite transmitting malaria is known to have five different species which affects humans.

“Out of these five, Pasmodium-falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, which are the most prevalent in Nigeria are the two which pose the most treat.

“These species are known to have resistant strains, which aide rapid modification upon encounter with antimalarial drugs, and hence resistance, this occurs when people abuse anti malaria drugs and don’t complete their dosage amongst other factors.

“Also, those who indulge in self medication without visiting a certified medical diagnostic laboratory for proper clinical laboratory investigation to know if they have the plasmodium parasite in them or even be sure of which specie of the parasite is present in their body.

“When you treat malaria without knowing the specie or the quantity of parasite available in the body, you end up not having the right prescription for the complete dosage of drugs required to eradicate the parasite from your system.

”However, this is common with most patients around here as people neglect their drugs once they start feeling better.

”Not completing your dosage affords this parasite the opportunity to understand the mechanism of action of the drug and also modify itself to become untouchable by such drug.

“Subsequently, you’ll discover that when using this same drug you’ve previously abused, it suddenly becomes ineffective to the parasite.

“Hence, why we keep having new brands and types of antimalarial drugs in the market everyday to help deal with these modifying strains” he explained.

He, however, advised Nigerians to ensure they get tested before any form of treatment were administered to them because by detecting what exactly was wrong with the system, the right prescription could be made by the doctor for effective treatment.

Obeta also encouraged the use of long lasting insecticide treated nets and keeping clean environments void of stagnant water, uncut grasses, dirty plates and cloths as a good means of keeping the vector away from their homes.

He advised against self medication, adding that it kills.

In his words, ”Drugs are poisons and when it is not helping you it definitely causes harm to other sensitive parts of the body, which might not be visible now but later in life.

“Get tested to know the disease before administering treatment,” he advised.

The ambassador also called on the Federal Government to see the need to encourage researchers, medical laboratory scientists amongst other health practitioners in the area of capacity building and skill development.

He stressed the need to be updated with latest technology as it concerns combating malaria and also developing strategies for its effective control.

Speaking on the BMP, he said it is a national malaria intervention initiative launched in Jos, Plateau, Nigeria in the year 2018.

He also said that the community and public health development project is geared towards enhancing the level of sensitisation on malaria, which he said was one of the most endemic diseases affecting Sub-Saharan Africa, this time with the 36 states of Nigeria in focus.

According to him, the project employs the preventive approach towards control and eradication of the vector transmitting malaria and targets low-income communities where sanitation is a big issue and malaria cases are high.

“The cycle will continue until a mosquito-free Nigeria is achieved from one state to the other.”

Obeta said that each year, BMP adopts a beneficiary low income community using a competitive selection process.

“In 2018, it was angwan rukuba community in Jos north LGA of Plateau.

“In 2019, it was Jenta Mangoro community still in Plateau. By the year 2020 we are extending the project to Borno, Gombe and subsequently to other States across the federation.

He said that the BMP goal is to achieve the SDG 3 (Good Health and Well Being), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and SDG 17 (Partnership for the goals) in every community visited.

Obeta said that the project is made possible through the generous support from donor partners and hundreds of young and dedicated volunteers across the country, who were passionate about ending malaria in Nigeria.

Edited by Felix Ajide


Malaria killing more people than COVID-19 in Sub Saharan Africa :expert




Malaria continues to kill more people in Namibia and the Sub-Saharan Africa than COVID-19 and there is a need to curb it, Southern African Elimination 8 anti-malaria ambassador and former Namibian Minister of Health Richard Kamwi said on Thursday.

Kamwi said both COVID-19 and malaria are deadly and need to be treated with persistence.

He said Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are currently experiencing a sharp increase of malaria cases while experiencing COVID-19 challenges.

“The sharp increase in malaria numbers could be because of resistance to drugs. For us to avert mortality rates from malaria there is need for availing of support to the ministry as well as consider putting malaria fighting mechanisms together with COVID-19,” Kamwi said.

He said malaria remains a major threat among Namibian societies because of high breeding areas for mosquitoes.

Kamwi also donated a consignment of anti-malaria drugs from Elimination 8 group of countries to Namibia to help alleviate the spread of the disease.

Receiving the donation, Namibian Minister of Health and Social Services Kalumbi Shangula said Namibia will continue to work closely with the SADC Elimination 8 group to reduce the spread of malaria.

“We are here to witness a partnership in fighting the spread of malaria and Namibia will continue to prioritize the anti-malaria drive and also work with partners,” Shangula said.

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Global Funds gives Zambia over 315 mln USD to combat HIV, TB and Malaria




The funds will help Zambia build resilient and sustainable systems for health for the next three years from 2021 to 2023.

National AIDS Council (NAC) Chairperson Bishop Paul Mususu said the funds have been increased from the previous funding of about 263 million dollars for the period 2018 to 2020.

He said during a press briefing that the increase in funding was an indication of the partners’ continued confidence in the country’s health sector.

Zambia instituted the application process last year, he added.

According to him, the Global Fund was also offering catalytic matching funds amounting to 12.3 million U.S. dollars for other programs such as adolescent girls and young women and men in high prevalence settings.

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Malaria in pregnancy can cause miscarriages, stillbirths — Expert



A medical expert, Dr Chinonso Egemba, says Malaria can cause pregnant women to have miscarriages, children with low birth weights, stillbirths and also make a fetus to stop growing.

Egemba told the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday, that a pregnant woman could experience such because malaria affects blood flow to the womb.

He spoke againt the backdrop of World Malaria Day marked every April 25, which draws global attention to the burden of the disease that threatens half of the world population.

The theme for this year’s commemoration was “Zero Malaria begins With Me”.

Egemba said: “As a doctor, I have seen pregnant women have miscarriages, children with low birth weights, have stillbirths and even make a child stop growing in the womb because malaria affects the blood flow to the babies in the womb.

“You may not understand it because to you, it’s just fever. Malaria destroys your red blood cells leading to anaemia. Anaemia reduces the blood capacity to carry oxygen and no cell in the body can survive for long without oxygen.

“Zero Malaria starts with you and me. We still have a lot of work to do. You and I have to play our parts in making sure this happens.”

According to Egemba,  when a female anopheles mosquito that carries the parasite that causes malaria bites an individual, the parasite is injected into the bloodstream and some are stored in the liver and it breaks out from time to time.

He urged Nigerians, especially pregnant women to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes by using insecticides, sleeping under treated nets and clearing bushes within their premises.

“You can prevent malaria by repairing your windows and plug the holes in them. Clear bushes around your house. Use insecticide-treated nets, a lot of people complain that it gets hot, butility its better than being bitten by mosquitoes.

“If you are pregnant or living with sickle cell disorder, there are drugs you can used to prevent yourself from getting malaria . Take them and talk to your doctor too.

“Malaria wreacks havoc. Do well to prevent it,” Egemba adviced.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Peter Ejiofor) (NAN)
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World Malaria Day: Kwara governor’s wife seeks total elimination of malaria



Wife of the Kwara governor, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq, has said that her office and Ajike Peoples Support Centre were poised to eliminate malaria in the state, even as they fight  to end COVID-19.

AbdulRazaq stated this in a statement signed by her Chief Press Secretary, Mr Adeyinka Adeniyi, in Ilorin on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the World Malaria Day is observed annually on April 25, to recognise global efforts to  control Malaria.

The theme of the 2020 World Malaria Day is “Zero Malaria Starts with Me”.

The governor’s wife called on everyone to continue to put into practice all measures aimed at eradicating malaria such as keeping a clean environment, use of mosquito nets and repellant.

“While we are fighting the COVID-19, efforts are also being made to continue the giant strides made in prevention of malaria in the state.

AbdulRazaq revealed that a sum of N82 million was provided by the State Governor, Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq, being counterpart fund for the Malaria Free Kwara Project.

She explained that the amount was used to procure Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN), Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) Kits as well as anti-malaria drugs for pregnant women and children under five years of age.

Others are Artesunate (Artemther and Lumenfantrine malaria treatment combination Drug) for the treatment of uncomplicated and severe malaria as well as capacity building and training for health workers. 

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ifeyinwa Omowole (NAN)
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