The Primary Healthcare Coordinator in Eleme Local Government Area, Dr. Tonye Lawson-Jack has urged residents of Eleme to take responsibility for their healthcare needs.
The Coordinator gave the charge while speaking on the occasion of this year’s World Malaria Day.
In an interview with Inside Eleme, Dr. Tonye Lawson-Jack said that the theme of this year’s celebration, “Zero Malaria starts with me” means that each individual should to take responsibility for his or her health.
He said, “The theme for this year is: “Zero Malaria starts with me”, it’s a new approach which requires that, you are particularly responsible for your health and if everybody wants to put heads together for malaria to go, if each person takes it upon him/herself to prevent the transmission of this malaria, that means it is actually eradicated.
“When we say zero malaria starts with me, it’s not about saying someone is sick and that does not concern you, what are you doing to prevent malaria? How many times have you had it? What were the causes each time you have it? How are you monitoring yourself? How many times do you take malaria drugs? What do you do to prevent yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes? What do you do to prevent the mosquitoes from breeding in your environment?
“Those are the things we look at. There are a lot of things involved, including how you take your anti-malaria drugs, the type of anti-malaria drugs you take because when they are not properly used, there’s always resistance and those resistance are also problem to our environment. I advise the people of Eleme to make it their personal campaign to get rid of mosquitoes in their environment, use safe-insecticides around to keep away bugs, use mosquito long lasting insecticide treated mosquito net to sleep in your rooms because we have a problem”.
Dr. Lawson-Jack explained that, the World Malaria Day which is observed every year is a day used to review efforts at fighting malaria. “We reflect and discuss on malaria in the society and we put a closer focus on where we are, concerning malaria and how to reduce it to the barest minimum and by saying barest minimum, we mean zero Malaria cases because even one case is not desired. So the World Malaria Day is celebrated every year and different Governments, Rivers State Government inclusive have decided to mark it, in terms of enlightenment and publicity, making people to be aware”, he said.
He stressed that the mosquito treated net is for everyone that is living in mosquito endemic zone which include both the rich and the poor, and urged everyone to use treated net, adding that clean environment also helps to keep malaria away.
His words: “Most a times, some people think they have arrived because they have air condition and due to that, they don’t use those nets, saying the net is not for them but for the poor people. The mosquito long lasting insecticide treated net is for everyone that is living in an endemic zones where mosquitoes are bound, use the mosquito nets, keep your surrounding clean, where you have stagnant water like sardine and milk containers that are all over the place and whenever rain falls, it collects water and this mosquitoes will breed in them, when you see such things get rid of them and keep the environment clean.
“ A good environmental sanitation is also a very effective way of getting rid of malaria and like I said before that everybody should take it upon himself as their personal business to get rid of malaria, we will actually achieve a case of zero malaria and this World Malaria Day is always observed or celebrated every 25th of April”, he stated.
On the latest national death index or records resulting from malaria infection in proportion to Eleme, he said: “We have indices and we have our reports that we usually give. Eleme has ten wards and each ward out there has report they give, inside those wards, we have facilities and reports based on every month, at the end of each month, quarter and year, they are all collated. At this point in time we are almost rounding off to the end of this month. Usually, at the end of the month, we’ll get a full report but anything needed is transmitted to the National Primary Healthcare in Abuja and eventually a report is filed out. So if you want to prepare a grand report but that notwithstanding, I can confidently tell you that malaria is still the number one killer disease of children worldwide because they are vulnerable.
“The two people that are vulnerable to malaria are the new born and mothers. It’s still one of the causes of death among those age groups, on the average, malaria kills a child about every four months, based on that, you can imagine how many children we are losing, not to talk about adults, so it is a very dangerous disease. The amount of deaths that is accruable to this is astronomical. In this part of the world we still have a lot of traditional beliefs, there are actually some deaths that will occur in the village where people cannot access or fail to go to the healthcare centre to be tested and they attribute such things to witchcrafts and other things. Even the accurate number of deaths that may occur on account of malaria is still in our email that they’ve reported and the mortality rate is quiet high”.
Dr. Lawson-Jack said there are three steps to take as preventive measures against malaria. “There are three steps to take when you want to prevent malaria. One, your environment, because these germs come into your body from your environment and not from Abuja, Lagos or Kano you keep your environment clean; it will be restricted to germs, parasites, vectors. Fever malaria is transmitted from one person to another person by a vector, the parasite is in the blood but the vector transmits it from one person to another and that will start doing its harm on the new person that is affected.
So, the first thing you should do is to keep your environment clean and hygienic. Second thing you need to do is to take active measures like your insecticide nets, like using safe-insecticide to keep mosquitoes away and keep their members down, you have to be doing regular test when you are having symptoms of malaria or fever, do a test to make sure what you have is actually malaria so that you will not abuse the drugs. Sensitive drug management, barrier preventions methods sometimes will be messed up, then environmental manipulation to your favour that is, getting the place clean using insecticide, when you do all those things, you help to reduce the rate of mosquitoes in our environment”, he said.