As concerns grow over a recent study that discovered a new strain of malaria parasite that is resistant to artemisinin, health professionals in the country have warned that Nigerians should stop the habit of overtreating malaria ADEBAYO FOLORUNSHO-FRANCIS reports
Fadekemi Fagba, a 52-year-old trader, visited a local pharmacy to procure a drug to treat malaria. For some days, she had been down with fever and cold, which to her, could only be symptoms of malaria.
Her neighbour suggested she buy a particular brand of antimalarial drug. After using Artemisinin-Combination Therapy for some days without observing any noticeable improvement in her condition, she resorted to the use of herbs.
Unfortunately, Fagba’s condition deteriorated, prompting relatives to intervene by moving her to a nearby hospital. When the result of her test returned, she was diagnosed with diabetes and not malaria that she had spent a couple of weeks treating.
Blessing Okigwe, a mother of three, is another case study. She has a penchant for putting her entire household on compulsory antimalarial treatment every time someone exhibits symptoms of the malaria parasite.
Like many families struggling with epileptic power supply in the country, Okigwe also takes extra caution to always place a box of mosquito coils close to her bed.
According to her, it is the only way to avoid mosquito bites in the absence of a mosquito insecticide which she cannot afford. This behaviour of Fagba and Okigwe as it relates to dealing with malaria is common among many Nigerians.
Nigerians have a culture of over-treating malaria
A clinical pharmacist, Mrs. Folasade Lawal told PUNCH HealthWise that “What people often refer to as malaria differs from person to person.
“Someone once called to complain of body itch as a result of an ACT antimalarial medicine she took. I was a bit worried and thought about documenting it as Pharmacovigilance for NAFDAC.