Taking a Bold Step against Malaria

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With Nigeria having one of the highest burden of malaria scourge in the world, putting over 90 per cent of its population at risk of the disease, Reckitt Benckisers, through its “own a community project” has taken a bold step to change the narrative towards eliminating the menace in the country. Writes Martins Ifijeh

It is no longer news that malaria kills about 482,000 children under age five every year across the globe, which means 1300 children die every day globally due to malaria scourge, with the prevalence not having a significant decline year in year out, as available statistics have proven beyond reasonable doubt. What this implies is that one child dies from malaria every minute.

Available information suggests that of the 627,000 deaths that occur due to malaria, 90 per cent of this figure occur in sub-Sahara Africa, with Nigeria sharing a major chunk of the statistics.

Reports have it that over 200,000 people die yearly in Nigeria from a disease that the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated in its 2013 reports that it was entirely preventable and treatable.

This burden placed on the country by the scourge has birthed various interventions from all levels of government, health bodies, stakeholders and public spirited individuals, through awareness creation on how to prevent the disease, distribution of long lasting insecticide treated nets, among others. But sadly, the interventions have not yielded significant results. Every year hundreds of untimely deaths are been recorded due to malaria.

But in a bid to change the narrative by reducing the scourge to the barest minimum or eliminate it totally from the country, Reckitt Benckisers West Africa, makers of insecticide brand, Mortein, has through a resilient intervention approach made a bold step towards achieving the dream of every Nigerian who is threatened or at risk of the menace.

The approach, tagged ‘own a community project’ intends to make every Nigerian aware, and actively participate in collectively reducing the prevalence of the scourge in the country through deliberate adherence to WHO three core integrated malaria prevention methods, which are cleaning of the environment, use of long lasting insecticide treated nets, and the use insecticides like Mortein.

On its innovative strategy, ‘Mortein own a community project’ provides Mortein insecticide, share long lasting insecticide treated nets and Larvicides to the residents and educated them on malaria prevention methods, and then do a before-and-after study to know how much impact has been made in that particular community.

With the believe that a thousand mile starts with a step, the project, which is billed to cover all urban, rural and hard-to-reach areas in every state in the country, including the Federal Capital Territory, started the intervention from Lagos State, with a particular focus in Kosofe Local Government Area of the State.

With the support of the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and the Lagos State Government, this strategy was analysed in Kosofe LGA, with reports suggesting that the project has caused a 55 per cent decrease in malaria cases in children within the six months of the intervention in the local government.

Lending his voice to the project, the Marketing Director, RB, West Africa, Mr. Oguzhan Silivrili, stated that the project was a huge success in the local government, adding that a 55 per cent reduction of malaria cases among children under the age of 10 was achieved through the project.

According to Oguzhan, over half a million (627, 000) people die from malaria each year, with 25 per cent of this figure from Nigeria, mostly among children under the age of five. ‘‘As I speak to you, millions of people are suffering from malaria all over Nigeria and every minute a child reportedly dies from malaria’’, he said.

He added that, “Malaria is not a destiny for Nigerian children, malaria is preventable. We have proved this in Kosofe with a 55 per cent reduction in malaria cases in children in only six months. To replicate the success of the project, we would go from community to community, house to house and mom to mom with the help of grass-root NGOs, to distribute insecticide treated nets and Mortein, as well as educate them on how to protect themselves and their families against Malaria,” he added.

He further stated that the Mortein Own a Community Campaign Research, in partnership with the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) through the Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMOH) gives further credence to the three core methods of integrated malaria vector control, and that if Nigerians can adopt and adhere strictly to the recommended measures, we stand a chance at eliminating Malaria in Nigeria.

He said it was unfortunate that despite 97 per cent of Nigerians at risk of the scourge, research still suggests that the citizens have continued to show nonchalance to prevention of the scourge, including the non-use of insecticide treated nets, and use of insecticides like Mortein, hence the need to bring these solutions close to the people so they can take a queue from the approach, adding that it represents a sure way to reduce the scourge in the country.

According to him, Mortein was working on educating and training households in every local government of Lagos State to accomplish a benchmark of 1000 households in a year, including a door-to-door education on how to prevent malaria.

He also added that “the vision is to make sure that by 2030 malaria is eradicated from Nigeria or at best reduced to a very minimal level.

In his presentation at the project commissioning in Kosofe, a Public Health Vector Control Specialist and Head, Malaria Research Programme, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos, Dr. Sam Awolola, who led the project exercise, said the six- month project was to assess the efficacy of the combined interventions of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs), Larviciding and Mortein on malaria prevention at select mosquito hot spots in the local government.

He also confirmed that there was a 55 per cent reduction in the cases of malaria amongst children under the age of 10, in homes where all the interventions provided to them were used.

He commended Mortein for its contribution towards the fight against malaria in Nigeria and also stressed that community participation and cooperation were very key to the success of major malaria vector control programmes.

Reiterating Mortein’s commitment to eradicating malaria, Marketing Manager Mortein, Bamigbaiye-Elatuyi Omotola stated that Mortein has been at the forefront of the fight against malaria in Nigeria. “In the past few years, Mortein has partnered with the Federal Ministry of Health through the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), LSMOH and various state ministries of health to foster education on malaria prevention via TV infomercials and at primary healthcare centres .

“We have taken it a step further with the Mortein Own a Community Project and we do not intend to stop in Kosofe only. We intend to implement this all across Nigeria, starting with Lagos state. Mortein is partnering with the Civil Society for Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN) in Lagos State, and over the next couple of months will replicate the Own a Community Project proven steps to malaria prevention across 20 select grass-root communities in Lagos State,” she said.

Also lending his voice, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Lagos, Mr. Ronald Kayanja commended Mortein’s work on malaria prevention in Nigeria. He also stated that initiatives like the Mortein Own a Community Project is supporting the United Nations to achieve a part of goal three (section 3.3) of the sustainable development goals; “To end the epidemic of malaria by 2030”.

In her goodwill message, Advocacy Sensitisation Mobilisation Officer, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Akintunde Ibironke, representing the Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, commended Mortein for its work and continuous support in the fight against malaria through its collaboration with the government and innovative solutions. She therefore pledged the Lagos State government’s commitment to work with RB / Mortein to ensure the implementation of this initiative at every local government within the State.

According to experts, malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals, caused by parasitic protozoans (a type of single cell microorganism) of the Plasmodium type. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, fatigue, vomiting and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma or death.

RB (Reckitt Benckiser) has been in existence in Nigeria for more than 50 years with popular household brands such as Dettol, Harpic, JIK, Mortein, Durex, Strepsils, Gaviscon and Airwick. RB’s vision is a world where people are healthier and live better lives, with a purpose to make a difference by giving people innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes. Over the years, RB Nigeria, has been in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Global Hygiene Council and the Nigerian Medical Association to actively and consistently promote the message of good health and hygiene in Nigeria

Piercing Children with Fake Earrings Cause Loss of Ear”, Firm Warns

Rebecca Ejifoma
An England-based company, Caress Manufacturing, has warned Nigerians and other African countries on the alleged use of fake earrings and piercing kits for new born children that is unsafe to the health.

The company gave this call through its Business Development Manager, Samantha Nicholson, who said that the use of fake piercing kit could cause loss of ear. “Fake earrings are made from brass, which can cause irritation and other skin and ear reaction. Brass can cause an allergic reaction leading to a skin infection.”

According to her, common reactions include: spots, rashes. Adding that the skin might get itchy, dry, irritated and appear red, flakey or scaly. “Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Ivory Coast are the main countries that are prone to this fake product.”

Nicholson spoke further that piercing kits and earrings are to be made from good environment and gold. “The quality of our product is of utmost importance to us. We provide a range of hypo allergenic 24 carat gold plated studs. Our 24 carat gold plated studs are produced in our ISO 9001 accredited UK factory and assembled in a clean air environment.”

She affirmed that the metal they use is medical grade stainless steel with, at least, two microns of gold plate. “We have found out that most fake studs are made with brass with just a flash of gold. Not only is this a health hazard but also the studs will tarnish quickly and won’t last long.”