BusinessDay

How Nigeria can win the war against malaria

Omolade Olayinka Okwa, professor of parasitology, has advised the federal government that the best way to tackle malaria parasites in the country is to initiate an aggressive vaccination programme for Nigerians, especially children.

The professor stated this, Tuesday while delivering the 79th inaugural lecture of the Lagos State University (LASU).

She spoke on the topic ‘Parasites: The Unwelcomed and Ungrateful Stranger; the Battle Line.

Okwa, lamented that malaria was killing thousands of Nigerians because governments at all levels were not doing enough in tackling the disease, noting that Nigeria should embrace R21, a newly produced malaria vaccine by the University of Oxford which is 75percent efficacy by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“This R21 vaccine should be welcomed in Nigeria. The government can create awareness on the need for children as a vulnerable group to be vaccinated against malaria just as the interventions and awareness made for Covid-19”, Okwa said.

Read also: Malaria: Nigeria distributes 193.5m mosquito nets

The professor equally called for adequate funding, provision of cost-effective drugs as part of measures the government must take to ensure the successful control of parasites and malaria in the country.

She further tasked government and stakeholders on the need for clear-cut health policies and interventions, stressing that the same energy used to create awareness for Covid-19 should be used in creating awareness on how to deal with malaria and NTDs.

She also maintained that cost-effective drugs are one sure way of combating parasites, adding that the government had the responsibility to execute mass drug administration to endemic areas.

According to her, “The rural populace in remote endemic rural areas should be of top priority. Several of these antiparasitic drugs should be at the reach of the poor.

“Fortunately, most of these drugs are broad-spectrum drugs and their use appears as the most cost-effective means of treating and controlling many parasitic infections.”

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