A Professor of Parasitology and Public Health Entomology, Isaac Oyewole, Babcock University, Ilishan – Remo, Ogun State, has called for urgent and appropriate legislation to stem malaria-caused deaths by focusing on drainage clearing and sanitation.
Prof. Oyewole who made this call , recently, at the 44th inaugural lecture of the institution, titled, ‘Parasites and Vectors: The Siamese Twins That Kill Softly’, which he delivered, explained that successful implementation of functional health policies, operative legislation, and right attitude to healthy lifestyles and hygienic environment if put in place, would incapacitate the symbiotic association between the vector and parasite.
He stressed the need for alternative therapies that are not only effective against resistant malaria, but also available and affordable to the vulnerable group who do not have access to expensive orthodox medicine or modern health facilities.
According to him, “Malaria prevention involves avoiding bites by parasite carrying anopheles mosquitoes or preventing diseases by using antimalarial drugs. In preventing malaria, focus is more on the vectors and parasites.
“There are several health policies and plans in Nigeria to preventing diseases from parasites and vectors, however, the crux of the matter is poor implementation due to lack of accountability and leadership skills.”
The university don emphasised need for more commitment on the part of leaders to ensure continuous operation of these policies for sustainable performance that will guarantee the wellbeing of citizens.
“Vector-borne protozoan diseases constitute a serious threat to health and socio-economic status of the people, particularly in the tropical region where poverty, ignorance together with vector favourable climates are the dominating factors.”
Prof. Oyewole cited other millitating factors as human behaviour , cultural practices, customs, traditions and inadequate social amenities, saying that access to portable water in preventing waterborne diseases, good housing scheme, well planned environment and availability of other basic amenities would further reduce contact with parasites and vectors.
He called on the federal government to re-organise and re-establish a functional and sustainable primary health care system for the poor in the rural areas whose hope for medical attention is the primary health centres.
He called on the ministry of health to aside funding researches that will curb the menace of parasitic diseases, but also ensure that appropriate allocation for disease control are increased to meet the international benchmark of 15 per cent.