By Sylvester Thompson
The National Malaria Elimination Programme(NMEP) of the Federal Ministry of Health is seeking the support of media practitioners in the fight against malaria.
Dr Godwin Ntadom, National Coordinator, NME, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a two-day round-table workshop organised for media executives and health producers on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ntadom, who was represented by Mr Raphael Onyilo, Head/Advocacy Communication and Social Mobilisation of the NME, said media practitioners were properly disposed to help in the fight against malaria.
He said the engagement was necessary because rural dwellers lacked some basic information about malaria disease, which was quickly demonstrated in their ignorance on the use of the Insecticide Treated Nets(ITN).
He said the workshop availed the media practitioners the proper understanding about how malaria could be prevented, diagnosed and treated.
Ntadom expressed optimism that such knowledge and understanding would enable the participants to disseminate accurate information t vulnerable Nigerians, especially those living in rural communities.
The national coordinator urged that health reporters should also help disseminate proper information especially the ownership and utilization of ITN nets.
According to him, ITN and use of indoor residual spray were all ways of preventing malaria disease.
“The media can also help us spread the message about keeping the environment clean, that was why the ministry through the programme decided to call some of these key media men,’’ he said.
He expressed optimism that health reporters would help the organisation inform the general public about what they learnt in the course of the workshop.
Ntadom said that the workshop afforded the participants the opportunity to design messages where they would use in their various media houses.
He said the messages were on malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and that all had been duly corrected.
“We believe that this is a step forward for the program because the commitment I saw in the participants showed that they will actually support us, by ensuring that our people get the right information.
“This right information is on malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment and the importance of the usage of net.
“They should also know some of the preventive measures that would help them when bitten by mosquitoes that actually transmit the plasmodium from one person to another,’’ he said.
Ntadom said there was need for people to know how malaria diagnosis was done, saying that Malaria Rapid Diagnosis Test was a good example that gave result between fifteen to twenty minutes.
According to him, the participants know that not all fevers are malaria and therefore if there is any fever of any type, test must be conducted.
Dr Olusola Adeoye who works with Breakthrough Action Nigeria, the Country Office branch, told NAN the engagement meeting with the media on malaria was an opportunity to emphasise on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria.
She said the meeting was simply an attempt at explaining what the National Malaria Elimination Programme was doing in its management of malaria and the challenges.
Adeoye said it was also about the experience and the importance of engaging the media in the management of the disease.
“Malaria kills, it might look like a small disease; some people will say, ordinary malaria buts it is actually not ordinary; it can be fatal; in order words, it kills.
“Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest number of malaria cases and malaria deaths.
‘’ So, we want it to be brought to the front burner for the media for them to understand that it is still a big issue and we need attention being drummed into it,’’ she said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo