Lagos Combats Malaria


Lagos State Government today carried out the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) of two high  malaria burden areas in Imota and Otto-Awori Local Council Development Areas of the  state, Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris has said.

Idris who noted that the IRS is the application of safe and effective  chemical/insecticide on walls and ceilings of houses to kill mosquitoes and other harmful  insects explained that the exercise would last for 25days.

He opined that following a rigorous selection process, the two councils were chosen based  on criteria that include high malaria burden, rural urabanization, mass deployment of  Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets and community acceptance and involvement in  previous interventions.

The Commissioner noted that the cosmopolitan nature of the state coupled with the  abundant distribution of coastal areas encourages the development of stagnant water  responsible for the breeding of anopheles mosquito, a situation that contributes to the  stable pattern and continuous transmission of malaria all year round.

Said he, “the previous malaria control interventions focused mainly on the treatment of  malaria cases in all age groups, promotion of the use of insecticide treated bed nets and  the provision of Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria in Pregnancy. Morbidity and  mortality trend of malaria cases continue to worsen due to the spread of Chloroquine  resistant strains of plasmodium, crumbling infrastructure of Primary Healthcare Centres  and poor utilization of insecticide treated bed nets. The malaria surveillance reports as  summarised in the annual Integrated Diseases Surveillance and Response indicated that the  previous malaria control interventions did not show significant impact. As the prevalence of malaria cases continues to rise.”

According to him, this unacceptable scenario made the governor to order a further control  of the malaria scourge by encouraging malaria researches both basic and applied using the  results for evidence-based programming hence major stakeholders from the Universities,  Colleges of Medicine, Research Institutions, Development Partners, Ministries and  Parastasals were invited thus a Malaria Control Stakeholders/Research Committee was born.

He explained that the Committee was saddled with the responsibility of identifying  strategies for tackling malaria scourge using research as a tool for malaria eradication;  developing guidelines and protocols for the funding of research proposals; exploring  possibilities of working with major stakeholders in public and private institutions; and  determining priority action for the control of malaria in the state.

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Idris opined that prior to the beginning of the IRS, government did the Geographical  Information System (GIS) mapping of more than 40,000 target structures (rooms) in the  selected communities in the two councils; done a baseline entomological study in four  communities each in the two councils in order to generate information on mosquito  behaviour and susceptibility to the different insecticides; done a baseline knowledge,  attitude and practices of people on malaria prevention, control and treatment; done a  baseline malaria prevalence survey to determine the burden of malaria parasites and  haemoglobin status in children and adults; procured and distributed hudson sprayers,  insecticides, protective wears and other equipments for the exercise; and trained 125  Spray operators and supervisors on Indoor Residual Spraying.

The Commissioner solicited the cooperation and support of the affected communities for  the spraying team particularly on the need to allow them to enter their houses and spray  just as he urged them to remove household items especially food stuffs, water, valuable  items, cooking utensils among other before spraying.

Said he, “essentially the spraying targets the mosquitoes that transmit malaria which  feed and rest inside houses especially on the walls. Members of the public need to ensure  that their environment is free from clogged roof gutters; disused tyres; poorly drained  flat roofs; plants hollow and cavities; abandoned wells and storage tanks; flower pot  clay liner; uncovered septic tanks; and uncovered large body of fresh/salt water.”

Dr Idris urged members of the affected communities to stay outside of the houses for at  least two hours after the spraying to allow the insecticide to dry as well as sweep and  mop the floor of their house after two hours before children and pets are allowed to  re-enter the house.

“I wish to implore the affected communities to ensure that all persons, domestic animals  and birds are also moved outside before spraying. Similarly, they should collect dead  insects and water used to mop the floor and pour them both in a pit latrine. You should  also keep the spray card issued to your household in a safe place for easy reference,”  Idris said.

He noted that the affected communities should not repaint or re-plaster their wall until  after six months adding that the chemical used is not harmful to human beings but  stressed the need for them to allow the insecticide to dry properly.

Malaria is highly endemic in Lagos State posing a major challenge to the State as it  impedes human development. It is both a cause and consequence of underdevelopment and  remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality especially among children  and pregnant women.

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