Professor Catherine Falade, a Malariologist at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan says the prevalence of malaria is higher in under-five children during the rainy season due to climate change. Falade, also a consultant Pharmacologist disclosed this in Ibadan.
She urged parents to take necessary measures in tackling malaria during the rainy season.
According to her, children under 5 and 10 years should wear warm clothes to school and mothers should ensure their children sleep under treated mosquito nets.
The expert explained that it is during rainy season that morbidity and mortality are on the increase as a result of malaria, adding that managing the disease poses challenges in Nigeria frequently in the season.
“The World Health Organization directed malaria intervention on the under-fives whose immunity is lower; this burden has now shifted to the under 10, who were hitherto neglected.
“During rainy season, planters and farmers are sick, tourism suffers.
The multinational companies are also losing money due to absenteeism resulting from malaria attack.
The poor masses are also affected due to ineffective and costly way of treatment, which cannot be afforded by the parents.
Children also miss school. Absenteeism leads to lower Intelligent Quotient in a child, and loss or reduction in productivity of workers,” she said.
The researcher further said that malaria has no particular symptom, adding that the only way to diagnose malaria is by microscopic system.
“We have not mastered malaria microscopy in Nigeria. The National Malaria Treatment Policy in Nigeria does not allow malaria to be treated without first being diagnose through the microscope. Treatment of malaria without microscopy is tantamount to incompetence and UCH research microscopists are hundred per cent efficient”, she said.
“Health care givers should respect Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) results and use Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT) which is the recommended WHO drugs for malaria. Acts are now being used by a higher number of people. It’s very efficacious, well tolerated and must be followed with a heavy meal,” she added.