PROF. BABATUNDE Salako,
Director-General, Nigerian
Institute of Medical Research,
NIMR, Yaba, has advised medical
practitioners to do microscopic
diagnosis for malaria parasite
before commencing treatment to
stem indiscriminate use of antimalaria
drugs.
Salako gave the advice on
Tuesday in Lagos at a seven-day
comprehensive in-service training
course aimed at improving the
routine malaria diagnosis in a
clinical setting.
The programme is being
organised by the Malaria Research
Group, NIMR, in conjunction with
the National Malaria Elimination
Programme, NMEP, and World
Health Organisation , WHO.
The News Agency of Nigeria
(NAN) reports that the theme
of the workshop is: “Effective
Malaria Diagnosis: Reducing the
Incidence of Drug Resistance’’.
WHO recommends prompt
parasite-based diagnosis by
microscopy or malaria rapid
diagnostic test, RDT, in all
patients suspected of malaria
before anti-malarial treatment is
administered.
“Light microscopy entails
visualisation of the malaria
parasites in a thick or thin smear
of the patient’s blood. “Malaria microscopy allows the
identification of different malariacausing
parasites,’’ the world
health body said.
Salako said: “All health experts,
especially medical laboratory
scientists must do microscopic
diagnosis for malaria parasite ,
Plasmodia parasitomia before the
treatment of malaria.
“WHO recommends testing
before providing anti-malaria
treatment because it limits
indiscriminate use of anti-malaria
drugs.
“Malaria remains a major
public health problem in Nigeria
which leads to 20 per cent of
death among young and adults in
Nigeria.
“Every headache or fever, may
not be a symptom of malaria.
People must not assume malaria,
but rather go for checkup, as
early diagnosis and treatment are
essential,” he said.
Salako said that the major
purpose of the training was
to improve the capacity of the
medical laboratory scientists to
make appropriate and correct
diagnosis of malaria.
“More training of medical
laboratory scientists will help to
reduce misdiagnosis of malaria in
the country.
“We need to take malaria
awareness campaigns down to
the grassroots, especially, the
rural areas,’’ NIMR directorgeneral
said.
Also, Dr Olugbenga Aina, the
acting Head of Biochemistry and
Nutrition Department in NIMR,
said that the main purpose of the
training was to educate medical
laboratory scientists on diagnosis
malaria parasite correctly.
Aina, who is also the facilitator
of the training, said that
laboratory test was necessary to
detect any disease.
“It will help to know the type
of diseases after a test was
carried out and the appropriate
treatment.
“The effective diagnosis of
malaria in the laboratory will
help reduce malaria burden,
promote accurate diagnosis of
malaria, save lives, prevent antimalarial
drug resistance and
wastage of valuable resources.
“We are training about 20
medical laboratory scientists
from different parts of the
country,” Aina said.
In his remarks, a Chief Malaria
Microscopist, Mr Babajide
Bamiro, said that it was important
for a test to be conducted
to confirm malaria before
administering any treatment.
Bamiro, who works in the
WHO Specimen Bank for RDT
Quality Assurance, College of
Medicine, University of Lagos,
Idi-Araba, said that this would
reduce unnecessary and
irrational use of anti-malarial
drugs.
“WHO Malaria Policy states
that every suspected malaria
case must be tested and
confirmed before treatment
can be administered on
patients.
“Abuse of anti-malaria drugs
can lead to intolerance and
resistance to the drugs and this
is very dangerous to health.
“Between 2010 and 2015, a
national survey shows that the
malaria burden in Nigeria has
reduced to seven per cent and
the prevalence reduced to 27
per cent in 2015 as against 42
per cent in 2010,” Bamiro said.
He recommended the use of
long-lasting insecticidal net,
indoor residual spraying and
environmental management
as other methods of reducing
the burden of malaria in the
communities.
Bamiro urged the three
tiers of government to always
clean canals and drains in
the environments to avoid
mosquitoes breeding in
stagnant waters.

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