Policy makers need to aggressively pursue malaria control strategies because malaria infections are attacking Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, at an alarming pace. Factors that are also responsible for the increase in the resurgence of malaria must be addressed in malaria transmission control.
These factors include the large-scale resettlement of people usually associated with ecological changes, increasing urbanization disproportionate to the infrastructure, drug resistant malaria, insecticide resistant mosquitoes, inadequate vector control operations and public health practices.
Vector control is significant in the light of increasing drug resistant malaria, as well as for cost effective reasons. Insecticide treated bed net trials are being conducted in some parts of Nigeria and the results so far have been promising for the reduction in severity and prevalence of malaria in children. The cost effectiveness of using insecticide treated bed nets in reducing pediatric admissions also reduces the personal costs that family and friends bear during a hospital admission. Such costs include out of pocket expenses, travel, family input into treatment, and productive time lost by mothers who have to take their children to the clinic or stay with them in hospital. A trusted method of controlling the mosquito is spraying breeding sites with insecticide such as DDT.
Although some studies have reported the presence of DDT resistant mosquitoes, it is still one of the most effective and economical forms of insecticide in the control of malaria. The use of DDT was partly responsible for the reduction of malaria in areas where it is now mainly eradicated. Environmental laws are leading towards the total ban of the use of DDT. Due to its persistence in the environment and its effect on the ecosystem, it is regarded as a persistent organic pollutant. A total ban on the use of DDT, however, could prove disastrous to poor countries that still rely heavily on its use for malaria control.
A more widely agreed upon solution is that there should be mass campaigns for education training in malaria prevention. In addition, research for a vaccine for malaria would be a noble gift to Africa and other areas where malaria is endemic and should be intensified. At the April 2000 Malaria Summit hosted in Nigeria, a pledge was made by African countries to reduce or waive taxes and tariffs for mosquito nets, insecticides, anti-malarial drugs, and other tools used for malaria control. Since,
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, the success of its malaria control programs will have a significant impact on the overall control of malaria in the region. Because a large proportion of the population in Nigeria’s rural areas lives in poverty, a control plan focused on those areas should be initiated.