They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that awareness toward preventing the disease, cost of treatment and drugs remained the challenges the management and control of the disease faced.
A Consultant Nutritionist with the U.N., Dr John Egbuta, said that in spite of programmes to check the disease, malaria still remained a burden to the country.
“The programme to check malaria is in place, but whether we are winning the war against malaria is what I cannot say.
“In fact, malaria is the most endemic problem in Nigeria, because no matter where we live, you cannot be free from it.
“The vector that transmits the disease, which is the mosquito, is everywhere,’’ he said.
Egbuta said that many people still suffered from the disease because of ignorance and poverty.
The consultant urged the Federal Government to provide malaria drugs for every Nigerian at no cost and be made available where people could access them.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
He said millions of Nigerians could not afford to buy the drugs as many of them earned very little income.
“There should be a programme that will allow every Nigerian to collect drugs at will from anywhere if we want to fight the scourge.
“The people who live at the grassroots are whom we are supposed to be programming for,’’ he said.
He added that the way forward was to clean up our environment, build drainages and remove stagnant water to disconnect breeding sites for mosquitoes.
Also speaking, the President, Malaria Society of Nigeria (MSN), Dr Babajide Puddicombe, urged the Federal Government to establish subsidised centres for the treatment of malaria.
He said that many people visited patent medicine dealers and traditional healers for treatment because the cost of treatment was expensive at the hospitals.
“Subsidised centres for the treatment of malaria will encourage people to stop patronising quacks who will not treat them properly.
“Such treatments will only result to resistance and complication of malaria which will eventually lead to death,’’ he said.
The president urged people to increase efforts at making their environment clean by removing items that could serve as breeding sites for mosquitoes.
He said that continuous campaigns and awareness programmes would reduce the scourge.
Puddicombe also urged the government to invest lots of fund in and make available, resources, for malaria research.
“The political will is what we need to be put in place in the control and management of the disease,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Dr Adeyeye Arigbabuwo, said that malaria vaccine would drastically reduce the disease burden in the country.
Arigbabuwo is the Chairman, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter.
He said that the vaccine would have many positive impacts on the economy as a whole
“If there is going to be a vaccine that will be brought in to tackle the menace, it will surely have a positive impact on maternal and child mortality reduction.
“This, especially the death of under-fives and pregnant women that occur mainly from malaria and other communicable diseases apart from the issue that bothers on delivery complications.
“So, we will surely have a better health indicator in terms of where we have been ranked by the World Health Organisation (WHO),’’ he said.
The chairman said that the vaccine might not likely be a life-long immunity because malaria was not a viral infection, but was caused by a parasite.
He, however, said that no matter the period of the vaccine potency, it would confer a lot of protection for pregnant women, mothers as well as children.
He said: “It will have positive impact to the extent that money that would have been used to combat malaria will be diverted to other areas of the economy’’. (NAN)