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2021 World Malaria Day: Herbal preparations only suppress parasite, researcher warns

Dr Oluwagbemiga Aina, a Chief Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), has said that intake of herbal preparations for the treatment of Malaria can only suppress the parasite.

Aina, the Head of Biochemistry and Nutrition Department in NIMR, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in commemoration of the 2021 World Malaria Day.

NAN reports that World Malaria Day is marked on April 25, every year, to create awareness and highlight the global efforts at controlling malaria and celebrating the gains already made.

“Interestingly, I head the Centre for Research in Traditional, Complimentary and Alternative studies in NIMR.

“A lot of people have been coming with claims of drugs for the treatment of Malaria, but basically, we have not seen any that is effective against the Malaria parasite like the Orthodox medicine.

“Research is still going on and we are still looking for a candidate herbal product that will be effective.

” What the herbal concoction actually does is to suppress the growth of the Malaria parasite, it doesn’t kill it and after sometime the parasite will come up again,” he said.

On whether COVID-19 would affect the control of Malaria in the country, the expert said the viral disease won’t have any impact on Malaria control.

“I don’t think COVID-19 will actually affect the control of Malaria prevalent in Nigeria based on a study we did last year at the NIMR.

”We found out that of those that were positive for COVID-19, only one percent of them were positive for Malaria,” he said.

On Malaria vaccine, the HOD said that the efficacy of available Malaria vaccines globally were not more than 50 percent, noting that it required a higher percentage for it to be very effective.

He urged Nigerians to stick to Malaria control measures by keeping their environment clean and getting rid of any open water where mosquitoes can breed.

Also, Dr Taiwo Adekunle, the Head of Accident and Emergency Department, Alimosho General Hospital, advised Nigerians to desist from practicing self medication for the treatment of Malaria.

“In the hospital setting, we don’t treat Malaria without testing, because there are other diseases with similar symptoms to malaria.

”When people start taking a particular drug, without prescription or when it is not needed, it won’t work when you actually need it and that is how resistance comes into play.

“In as much as we cannot condemn the usage of native concoctions for the treatment of malaria, we still have a long way to go,” he said.

According to him, the environment should be kept clean to stop mosquitoes from breeding, while the combined use of mosquito nets and insecticides would also help to protect pregnant women and children.

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