Malaria: Expert warns against self-medication

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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Nigerians have been urged to take advantage of the free malaria test and treatment rather than resort to self-medication.

Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, the Director General of the Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency, advised Nigerians to support the efforts of government to eliminate malaria, which she described as “a killer”.

Ekpenyong gave the advice during a malaria technical working group meeting with the State Malaria Eradication Program, SMEP, malaria implementing partners and other key stakeholders in Calabar, Cross River State, southern Nigeria.

Increased funds
She explained that the state government has released funds to ensure citizens especially pregnant women and children get access to free malaria test or diagnosis and treatment.

“As part of measures to eradicate malaria in the state, Governor Ben Ayade has ordered the release of funds to tackle malaria, while also leveraging on other funding opportunity such as Save One Million Live.

Malaria is the highest mortality rate in the country. As such, the state government has ensured that malaria service was captured in the benefit package of the launched Health Insurance Scheme.The insurance scheme will avail more people the opportunity to receive the long lasting insecticide treated nets, accessibility to Rapid Diagnostic Test, RDT, blood test as well as supply of artemisinin combination therapies, ACT, drugs,”  the DG stated.

Dr Ekpenyong also warned people against patronizing quacks, noting that wrong prescription from quacks contributed to more deaths in the state.

“Alot of people either self-medicate or get prescriptions from quacks posing as qualified medical personnel, which has resulted in the death of many. We need people to rather visit health centres for confirmatory test and diagnosis.”

Quality Data
Ekpenyong disclosed that the state government alongside partners have made available malaria testing kits and drugs in all its health facilities.

She urged the participants to obtain quality data from the eighteen local government areas as well as avoid wastages.

She noted that data triangulation showed waste and poor accountability of commodities sent to health facilities across the state.

“That can no longer be tolerated, in as much as we expect you to obtain and keep quality data of people treated, we need these consumables to be judiciously utilized.”

The World Health Organization reports that over 229 million people were diagnosed of malaria globally with a resultant death of 409,000.

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