By Vivian Ihechu
An indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturer, Mr Akinjide Adeosun, says malaria can be eradicated in Nigeria through adequate and consistent budgeting for its treatment and elimination programmes.
Adeosun, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, ST. Racheal’s Pharmaceutical, Lagos, spoke at the celebration of the company’s third anniversary and the launch of its antimalarial brand- ST.RACHEAL’S Artemether 80mg + Lumefantrine 480mg 1×6 Tablets on Tuesday in Lagos.
He also said that health workers should be mobilised to tackle malaria in strategic areas.
Adeosun said, “this can be done by consistently budgeting huge sums of money for malaria treatment and elimination programmes, and maintaining domestic investments for malaria, just like El-Salvador.’’
He said that there was also need to ensure the mechanical control of mosquitoes through construction of permanent drains in swamps, and followed by indoor spraying with pesticides.
Adeosun said there was urgent need for call to action to eliminate a malaria disease that is preventable and treatable, but killing more Nigerians daily than COVID-19.
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2020, he said that malaria afflicted 60, 959, 012 Nigerians and 95, 418 souls were lost in 2019.
“Hospital visits were low during the COVID-19 pandemic. Focus on malaria was neglected, and it is still being neglected.
“We have taken it upon ourselves to increase the awareness of the dangers of malaria.
“It’s my considered opinion that malaria can be eradicated in Nigeria, just like El-Salvador, Paraguay, Argentina, Algeria, Mauritius, Lesotho and Seychelles,’’ he said.
Commenting on the new antimalarial brand, Adeosun said: “This brand will give patients and healthcare professionals our traditional offering of peace of mind.’’
He said launch of the antimalarial drug was the company’s contribution to wage war against malaria, thereby reducing its menace of high morbidity and mortality of malaria.
Adeosun assured the public that the company’s Antimalarial drug would deliver its promise of Top-Quality, yet Affordable pharmaceutical brand, in tandem with the mission of improving life expectancy in the country.
In his presentations, Prof. Wellington Oyibo, a Consultant Medical Parasitologist, said malaria remains an important public health challenge globally and in the country.
Oyibo, Head, ANDI Centre of Excellence for Malaria Diagnosis, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, Lagos, said that malaria morbidity and mortality remained high over the years.
According to him, neglect of malaria interventions in COVID-19 pandemic will escalate the malaria situation.
“Uncomplicated malaria cases could progress quickly to complicated and that could be fatal; critical attention is required to address this.
“Severe malaria-related death is as traumatic as COVID-19 and children die early when supportive management is not accessible,’’ he said.
Oyibo urged the Federal Government to support indigenous manufacturers of malaria commodities, saying, “malaria is preventable, treatable and access to quality-assured commodities including diagnostics, medicines, LLINs, should be accelerated.’’
In his remarks, Dr Babatunde Ajayi, Special Assistant on Health to the Lagos State Governor; affirmed that malaria was the largest disease that kills people.
Ajayi said that 50 per cent of Nigerians get malaria at least once in a year.
According to him, 20 per cent of hospitals visit are due to malaria and 10 per cent of the overall disease burden is from malaria.
He said that the economic burden of malaria was overwhelming considering the number of people who come down with malaria regularly, hospital visits and cost of getting drugs for treatment.
“Also, there’s a cost attached to the healthcare attendant or doctor who sees the person; there’s also a cost attached to the operation cost of the hospital, and a lot more.
“At the end of the day, the economic burden is large; it is huge,’’ he said.
He commended the company for being an indigenous brand to introduce Artemether 80mg + Lumefantrine 480mg 1×6 Tablets, into the Nigerian market. (NAN)