Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN) has said poor sanitary conditions in most communities across the country are hindering efforts at eliminating the ailment.
As the rainy season sets in, the group pleaded with Nigerians to guard themselves against other water and mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever, typhoid, diarrhoea and cholera, by ensuring a clean environment.
It equally implored the citizenry to stop converting insecticide-treated nets to fishing facilities, stating such action defeats government’s investment.
The National Coordinator, Ayo Ipinmoye, who made the call during a quarterly meeting of the group at the weekend in Abuja, warned that severe malaria could cause multi-organ failure in adults, while children frequently suffer from severe anaemia, respiratory distress or cerebral malaria.
Human malaria caused by other plasmodium species could result in significant illness and occasionally life-threatening disease, he noted.
Ipinmoye observed that the risk of malaria infection is highest during the rainy season in tropical countries, establishing a nexus between weather and incidence of malaria in Nigeria, as weather influences the reproductive rate and lifespan of insect vectors that transmit diseases.
He said lack of access to basic amenities hampers compliance with public health measures of proper hand washing and waste disposal, adding that nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria.
His words: “In 2020, an estimated 241 million people contracted malaria in 85 countries and in the same year, the disease claimed approximately 627,000 lives.
“Some people are more susceptible to developing severe malaria than others. Infants and children under five years of age, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS are at particular risk.”
Other vulnerable groups include people entering areas with intense malaria transmission, who have not acquired partial immunity from long exposure to the disease, or who are not taking chemopreventive therapies such as migrants, mobile populations and travellers.
“Some people in areas where malaria is common will develop partial immunity. While it never provides complete protection, partial immunity reduces the risk that malaria infection will cause severe disease. For this reason, most malaria deaths in Africa occur in young children, whereas in areas with less transmission and low immunity, all age groups are at risk.”
Ipinmoye noted that over the last decade, parasite resistance to antimalarial medicines has emerged as a threat in the fight against malaria, particularly in the Greater Mekong subregion, stressing that World Health Organisation (WHO) is also concerned about more recent reports of drug-resistant malaria in Africa.
Also speaking, Senior Programme Manager, Fatima Kolo-Abdulahi, advised Nigerians, who enjoy sitting out in the gardens in the evenings, to always wear long sleeves and trousers that cover their bodies, adding that those who can afford, can get mosquito repellants to be applied on skin, as they are safe for both adults and children.