Doesn’t matter if it’s the latest gizmo from the whiz kids over at Silicon Valley, or Jamie Oliver’s newest Jollof Rice recipe fail - whatever it is, whenever it is, our ova-sabi fellow is always ready to claim he/she knows it all!

Fortunately, most of us know the perfect way to deal with this kind of person: the proverbial [and hopefully figurative] smack in the mouth. Boom!

Yes, a smack in the face is exactly what most of us need. [Yes, I’m talking to you my friend] The truth is, we are all guilty of being an ova-sabi, especially when our health is involved.

And to prove you deserve this smack in the face, I’ll ask you just one question:

“You woke up this morning and all the signs are there: slightly bitter taste in your mouth, feverish feeling, aches and pains in all the ‘wrongest’ places etc. What’s your solution?”

a) Cocodamol syrup, PlentyMore tablets and ThenSomeMoreDin injections

b) “I’d better stop taking sugar!”

c) Depends. You generally insist on getting tested

d) Local agbo. Plus a bottle of hot stout

Oya, slap yourself in the face. Unless of course, you picked option C.

Because of ova-sabi people [like me and you] who automatically attribute every funny feeling to malaria, wrong treatment has now become one of the biggest health issues in this country.

Left unchecked, it’s costing us billions of Naira every month. It’s also making malaria much harder to treat. PLUS, more and more people are dying, simply because they are being treated for malaria when in truth their illness is often more serious.

Ideally, you should test yourself for malaria BEFORE you start taking any drugs for it. And you should test again afterwards to make sure the malaria parasite has completely left your system. However, as we all know, the problem with that scenario is that if you went to the hospital EVERY time you suspected malaria, you probably wouldn’t get any work done.

That’s where the folks at SuNMap come in with RDTs.

Costing only about N200, Rapid Diagnostic Tests [RDTs] are a simple way to test whether a person with malaria-like symptoms actually has malaria. Malaria is caused by a parasite that infects blood cells and it’s this parasite that causes the fever and other symptoms common to malaria.

RDTs work by detecting malaria antigens in a person’s blood – antigens are certain type of proteins released by malaria parasites. Therefore if malaria antigens are present in a person’s blood, the person will test positive. If malaria antigens are not present, the person will test negative.

It takes only a few minutes to use an RDT and you can do it right in your living room. It’s basically as easy as a pregnancy test.

Why use RDTs?

Because it might just save your life someday. Or your child’s. Plus, of course you don’t want to be an ova-sabi.

Where can you find RDTs?

You can buy an RDT at the nearest pharmacy or health center anywhere in Nigeria. But please, always buy only authentic WHO pre-qualified and NAFDAC registered RDT kits. They have an Original Seal of Quality on them so they’ll be easy to identify.

By the way, if you want to know just how much of an ova-sabi you [or your mother-in-law!] really are, try this 10 –question game. It’s quick, and fun, I promise you!

This info is brought to you by SuNMap [Support to National Malaria Programme] which was set up to support the Nigerian government and people in tackling the massive burden of malaria in the country. The central aim of the government's strategic plan is to deliver 'interventions that work'.

SuNMaP is implemented by international and local partners, each with complementary expertise in the various aspects of the programme. It is funded by UKAid/Department for International Development and managed by the Malaria Consortium.

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