The fight against malaria, what more should we do? By Lawal Dahiru Mamman

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Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches.

In severe cases, it can cause jaundice, seizures, coma, or death. It is spread exclusively through bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. The mosquito bite introduces the parasites from the mosquito’s saliva into a person’s blood. The parasites travel to the liver where they mature and reproduce.

Malaria is a disease that has bedeviled and is still bedevillng the human race with high level of incidence in African countries. The worry is that Malaria is preventable and treatable but still affects millions all year round. According to the world health organisation, 627,000 people died from the disease and leaving another 241,000,000 infected in the year 2021.

To curb the menace of this disease, the government is spending a lot, international community is donating, and non-governmental organisations are helping in trying to see that the world is free from Malaria.

This is mostly done by the purchase of insecticide treated mosquito net, insecticides of different brands, seasonal malaria chemo-prevention and antimalarial drugs in case of infection.

Families also do their due diligence in ensuring that houses are spread with insecticides to kill mosquitoes and ensure that they all sleep in the comfort and protection of mosquito nets. Truth be told, all these will not be enough if the little things are not addressed, because after all the efforts indoor you go out of the house only to find out that those tiny beasts are lurking around to feast on you.

Of the over 3,500 species of mosquitoes, three; anopheles, culex and aedes are mostly of economic importance because they are vectors of disease. Anopheles carries a microorganism which causes maaria ‘plasmodium’ and other species reproduce on standing water and complete a live cycle within 18days or above depending on the species.

Looking at this biology, the reason we have so many mosquitoes around can be deciphered hence to eradicate Malaria our drainage systems must be functional and be provided in areas that lack them to prevent water from lodging which invariably provide breeding ground for the parasites.

Residents should fill up areas with stagnant water, cut grasses close to their house and resist dumping of refuse in drainages and water bodies to allow free flow.

Communities should be informed about the dangers of dumping refuse in the drainages because besides exposing themselves to danger of flooding and its aftermath, blocked drainages are a good ground for mosquitoes to breed since water does not flow through.

Plant that repel mosquitoes should replace some of our ornamental flowers. A study published in Malaria Journal in 2011 titled ‘Plant-based Insect Repellents: A Review of their Efficacy, Development and Testing’ revealed that lemon grass alone can either kill or repel about 95% of certain species of mosquitoes. Trees like that of Cinnamon could be used as shelter belt because of their ability to repels insets, mosquito inclusive. Further studies could be carried out on other indigenous plants species in order to find if they possess properties that will help eradicate mosquitoes.

Eradication of malaria may seem tough, impossible and debilitating but with commitment on above suggestions, a Malaria free Nigeria is possible.

Mamman, a corps member writes from Abuja and can be reached via dahirulawal90@gmail.com