BY KOZAH, SAMUEL [KADUNA STATE UNIVERSITY].
Malaria and its treatment have become constant topics of debate and speculation not only in my country but the world over, as it has caused pain to many and death for others across Nigeria and other developing countries especially in Africa for many years.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease. Mosquito injects the disease into the human health system by feeding on the blood of man. The parasite fights against the white blood cells, destroying the immune system of man. When the immune system is totally destroyed, the individual becomes prone to the havoc of malaria fever. (Diara, 2013)
The only countries that are absent of the malaria vector are Antarctica and Iceland. Antarctica’s advantage is due to its harsh conditions. The only insect native to the continent is the Belgica Antarctica. This insect has the mechanism to survive the low temperatures, something the malaria vectors do not have.
Africa in general, is the most affected continent due to the low weather conditions, scarce resources and socio-economic instability, a very efficient mosquito(Anopheles gambiae complex), and the predominant Plasmodium falciparum parasite. Nigeria’s climate and tropical conditions make the country very ideal and hospitable for the thriving of mosquitoes. (C.D.C, 2018)
A major factor to consider in malaria prevention and treatment is poverty and the lack of effective sanitation laws. Using Nigeria as an example, which has one of the world’s highest poverty rates, acquisition of basic amenities that are important in the reduction of the spread of malaria (e.g. Insecticide treated nets) by the poverty stricken populace is very difficult, and despite the provision of such funds and amenities from world governing bodies like the United Nations(UN), World Health Organization(WHO) and Non-Governmental Organizations(NGOs), mismanagement and misappropriation of such funds and items deem the efforts futile, and for a country such as Nigeria which has one of the world’s highest economic rates, the level of poverty and sanitation laws is unacceptable.
Also, the WHO has posited that the use of treated mosquito nets is the way out of the mosquito associated problems of man. It is said that people who sleep under treated mosquito net as recommended by health officials will never suffer as a result of mosquito bites. But the bites which are suffered at the early hours of the night before bed time cannot be prevented with mosquito nets. It is therefore imperative for African governments and non-governmental bodies to embark on a holistic war against mosquito with a target to completely eradicate the insect from the continent.