By Olabisi Akinbode
Prof. Catherine Falade, a malariaologist and expert in pharmacology and therapeutics, has cautioned Nigerians and community health officials against the use of Vitamin C and 7up in treating malaria.
“Consuming Vitamin C and 7up is not the treatment for malaria; nobody needs Vitamin C to treat malaria.
“Nigerians and community healthcare officials should not use it to treat malaria as it cannot cure malaria.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has standards — Arteminis Combination Therapies (ACTs), injectable and oral administrations are best practices.
“In Nigeria, the use of ACT must be adhered to just as the administration of the drug must be strictly followed by a heavy nutritious diet,” Falade told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Ibadan.
Falade, who is also a lecturer at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, said reports from a survey on effective treatment of malaria at the grassroots revealed that many patients and community healthcare givers were guilty of the self-medication.
She explained:“If a baby has malaria, it must be given the breast consistently for three days and for a toddler on the other hand, he or she given some teaspoonful of milk.
“Healthcare providers in Nigeria carry a heavy burden of malaria, so we should go by WHO standard parasitological standards.
“Adherence of healthcare providers to treatment guidelines is still an issue and non-adherence by some patients may lead to resistance and can spread across nations.
“Patients must be educated on the use of Artemeter. ACT must be a three#-day dose as this prevents the resistance space of the vector mosquitoes.
“ACT should not be combined with vitamins and antibiotics unless the patients have other infections; if diagnostic investigations reveal only malaria, the patient should stay with ACT to treat it.”
On the treatment of malaria in expectant mothers, Falade, a UCH consultant, suggested pre-pregnancy preventive approach to treat the deadly ailment.
“The safest way to manage malaria in pregnancy is by being proactive in the treatment.
“They should wear protective clothes, put mosquito screen nets on the windows and avoid taking drugs in the first trimester which is the first three months of pregnancy..”
The expert said Nigeria could not afford to ignore WHO standard treatment as the country is among nations with the highest number of malaria cases in Africa.
According to her, malaria is endemic in Nigeria with over 4.3 million lives lost in 2015.
“About 40 per cent of people who died of malaria (plasmodium parasite) in 2014 are children and 90 per cent of this burden occurred in sub-Sahara Africa.
“Africa as a continent should join hands in finding solutions to stem the scourge of malaria though a decline of 18 per cent of the burden was recorded in 2015,” Falade said.