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Society harps on test for malaria before treatment

By Beta Nwaosu, Abuja |   15 October 2015   |   3:57 am  

In an effort to curb the menace of malaria-related deaths in Nigeria, the Society for Family Health (SFH) has urged all Nigerians to test first for malaria before commencing treatment, noting that when one thinks of malaria he or she should think of Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs).

Speaking at a media roundtable on better diagnosing malaria in Abuja, yesterday, Head, Case Management Branch, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr. Godwin Ntadom, said that about 600,000 people die annually as a result of malaria and Nigeria make up about 25 per cent of this population.

He further said, any individual who refuses to take the malaria test, or do not accept results of the RDTs and is taking malaria medicines without diagnosis contributes to the huge waste of anti-malaria medicines, stressing that all individual presented with the symptoms of fever must test before conducting treatment.

He noted that Nigerians should no longer continue with the impression that all fever symptoms are as a result of malaria.

He said: “It makes no sense to treat fever as malaria, anyone who has fever, he or she should go ahead and do some test before treatment is commenced. As the new policy recommends that all suspected fever be confirmed with the use of microscopy in the hospital or with a simple RDT.

“RDT is recommended by World Health Organization to diagnose malaria before treatment, but its use has been slow to take off because many ordinarily equate fever with malaria, even though not every fever comes from malaria.”

He went on: “If the result says negative, please don’t bother with treating malaria. Go out and look for what’s causing the fever because the continuous usage of the anti-malaria drug is a waste of Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT).”

Ntadom reaffirms the involvement of registered medicine vendors and the pharmacist council of Nigeria on awareness of diagnosis before treatment, noting that with this malaria will be curtailed.

“We are working with the registered medicine vendors and the pharmacist council of Nigeria, as we will be teaching, redirecting and reorienting them so that they can do the right thing. Evident has shown that the various control measures in place will cause some reductions in the number of individuals getting infected with malaria.”

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