Executives and members of the African Union Chapter of the Pan African University Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (including Health and Agriculture), organized a one-day health awareness programme with focus on malaria, in collaboration with Ruth Adenike Adeoye, a Masters student from the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Health, as well as support from Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BA-N).
This programme was initiated as a response to the plight of malaria on PAULESI students. According to a survey they conducted within their community, about 98% of them were recorded to have been diagnosed of malaria, while 94% have had malaria more than once between April and October, 2022.
Welcoming this initiative PAULESI Deputy Director, Dr. Michael Adeyinka Oladunjoye, stated that Being the first of its kind, if such program could be done annually for new students to take appropriate preventive measures about malaria, students from countries where malaria is not prevalent would be able to stay protected till the end of their program thus, promoting health and well-being of all.
The Akinyele LGA malaria officer said that though malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, it is preventable and curable. He added that, with Africa carrying the highest share of the global malaria burden, governments and donor agencies still needed to execute more interventions to revert this plight. He believed preventive measures to be an effective way out to this regrettable situation.
Building on this, Michael Ajayi from BA-N revealed that stagnant waterbodies, bushy and dirty environment significantly contributed in breeding mosquitoes in any community. Long Lasting Insecticidal-treated Nets (LLIN), he continued, are highly effective in preventing infection and reducing disease transmission. Also, applying mosquito repellent with DEET (diethyltoluamide) to exposed skin and wearing long sleeves to cover the skin were other appropriate solutions to avoid mosquito bites.
Addressing attendees, Samson Obona, Iseyin LGA BA-N supervisor, stressed the importance of seeing the healthcare provider. He also spoke on the dangers of self-medication and/or on the counter drugs, side effects of medications to treat malaria, and lastly the diagnosis and treatment of malaria.
The talk on malaria ended with promise to supply and distribute LLINs to all students and staff od the institute, with support from the Ministry of Health. During the programme, BA-N provided malaria testing services. Meanwhile, colleagues of the department volunteered to conduct blood sugar tests, BMI, vital signs and consultation alongside counseling for the institute and members of the Ajibode community.
According to the 2021 World Malaria Report (https://www.severemalaria.org/countries/nigeria), Nigeria accounts for the highest share of global malaria cases (27%) and deaths (32%) in 2020. It also carries the greatest malaria burden in West Africa, with 55.2% of malaria cases in 2020.