Malaria Roll Back Malaria Partnership vital in reducing burden, says expert

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM Partnership) is the global framework for coordinated action against malaria.

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From January 1 to March 10 this year, 1.8 million malaria infections were registered in Burundi, according to the WHO play

From January 1 to March 10 this year, 1.8 million malaria infections were registered in Burundi, according to the WHO

(AFP/File)
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Mr Babajide Bamiro, a Chief Malaria Microscopist,  on Wednesday said that the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership had played an important role in reducing malaria burden in the country.

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM Partnership) is the global framework for coordinated action against malaria; through the partnership mechanisms, partners in malaria control coordinate their activities at global, regional and country level.

Bamiro, who works in World Health Organisation (WHO) Specimen Bank for RDT Quality Assurance, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“RBM remains pivotal in coordinating and convening partners worldwide to ensure sufficient and accessible resources for countries for malaria control and elimination efforts.

“Most of the achievements in the reduction of malaria burden are initiated by RBM and partnership with USAID and U.K. AID.

“Six countries eliminated malaria since 2010; they include Morocco, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan, while 91 have ongoing transmission.

“Also, 21 countries are in the process of eliminating malaria by 2020.’’

He said there was considerable progress in eliminating malaria from the country.

“Between 2010 and 2015, a national survey shows that the malaria burden in Nigeria reduced to seven per cent and the prevalence reduced to 27 per cent in 2015 as against 42 per cent in 2010.

“Some of the progress in the prevention intervention for malaria burden was as a result of people sleeping under Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs).

“The statistics showed an increase from 30 to 53 per cent; WHO recommends people to sleep under the LLINs, especially pregnant women and children.

“Findings also show that there is significantly lower rates of infection among people who sleep under LLINs.

“Sleeping under treated nets is very important; we discovered in some rural areas that they use the sleeping nets for fishing,’’ he said.

On other malaria prevention interventions, Bamiro said: “There was also improvement in Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy (IPtp), which also increased from 6 to 31 per cent.

“IPtp is a full therapeutic course of anti-malarial medicine given to pregnant women at routine antenatal care visits regardless of whether the recipient is infected with malaria.

“ Indoor Residual Spraying also helps in the prevention of malaria; it is a process of spraying the environment and it is very effective in controlling malaria, though very expensive.

“Integrated vector management is also good to eliminate mosquitoes.’’

Bamiro said it was important for a test to be conducted to confirm malaria before administering any treatment.

“The Rapid Diagnosis Tests (RDTs) is very important because the Nigeria Elimination Control Guidelines says that people should test positive to malaria before they are given any treatment.

“If patients cannot access microscopy in both rural and urban areas, they should be able to use RDTs.

“It is advocated that malaria be treated with Artemisinin-Based Combination Therapies (ACTs) though advanced clinical trials show partial protection against malaria in young children.

“A malaria vaccine is being worked on as a complementary tool; the roll-out of this vaccine in Sub-Saharan Africa will begin in 2018,’’ he said.

The chief malaria microscopist cautioned against self-medication as every headache or fever might not be a symptom of malaria.

According to him, continued abuse of anti-malaria drugs can lead to intolerance and resistance to the drugs and this is very dangerous to health.

Bamiro urged government at all levels to always clean canals and drains in the environments to avoid mosquitoes breeding in stagnant waters.

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