The Federal government, on Tuesday, warned Nigerians to undergo tests before taking anti-malarial treatment, because not all fevers are symptoms of malaria.
Chinelo Ogbodo, Chief Community Development Officer, Advocacy Communication and Social Mobilisation guidelines (ACSM), National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), gave the warning at the review meeting of the ACSM guideline, in Akwanga, Nasarawa State.
According to Ogbodo, the government was hopeful that by 2025, every Nigerian would have understood the meaning, causes, treatment and preventive measures for malaria.
She said that the guideline was a document that detailed the planning, coordination and implementation of ACSM activities, to guide increasing awareness about malaria and develop activities that would help increase the demand for malaria products and services.
The expert charged Nigerians to test every fever and know its cause before treatment.
“Malaria is one of the so many conditions that could lead to fever in an individual.
“So you need to run a test; every individual presenting symptoms of malaria or fever must be tested before you give them antimalarial drugs when they test positive.
”Nigerians must understand that malaria is not common, there are various types and levels of the disease, like complicated and uncomplicated malaria, we also have severe malaria.
”When you treat a fever with malaria drugs, without going for a test before treatment, you have succeeded in treating blindly without knowing what you are treating or the level of what you are treating.
”When somebody has malaria and treats without testing, he or she has abused the drugs because you do not know the level of malaria you are treating. When a death occurs as a result of malaria, people term it as witchcraft or spiritual causes,” she said.
Mrs Samuel Owoya, an NMEP staff, advised Nigerians to sleep under the Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) every night, as she cited malaria as a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the country.
She explained that Nigerians must adopt the right health-seeking behaviour for the elimination of malaria.
Nigeria, she explained, had adopted the use of LLINs as one of its interventions for malaria prevention, and it was recommended that every person should sleep under the LLIN every night.
Owoya said that LLINs were a type of mosquito net that had been treated with insecticides that repel and kill mosquitoes, adding that LLINs were safe and effective in protecting oneself and family members against malaria.
She said that when correctly used, an LLIN every night significantly reduced a person’s risk of being infected with malaria, in addition to saving the time and money spent on treating malaria.
”To use and care for your LLIN, tuck the LLIN under your mat, mattress or bed, sew if torn, and wash with bar soap if dirty. Do not use LLINs for fishing or covering crops or animals,” she said.