The Office of the Welfare Secretary, Faculty of Arts Students Association (FASA), University of Jos in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Plateau State Ministry of Health and the Carter Center organised a one day sensitisation program titled“The Curb Malaria Project” on Thursday, 31st October, 2019 for students of the University of Jos Community.

In her opening speech, the FASA Welfare Secretary, Miss Emmanuel Vivian Tsiye thanked her partners, dignitaries and students for attending the program.

The event which took place at ASUU Secretariat, Naraguta Campus had in attendance Mr. Kenrick Nwodu (Research Officer for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Carter Center), Dr. David D. Shwe (Medical Consultant), Mr. J.M. Abimiku (Faculty Officer of Arts), Mr. & Mrs. Umar Ransa, comrades among others.

Speaking at the program, Mr. Kenrick Nwodu made a presentation on “Malaria and Mosquitoes.” He began by clearing some misconceptions about malaria as he said that malaria is not a contagious disease; it is neither a virus nor a bacteria; “jaundice is a sign of malaria because it makes the skin, urine and eyes yellow; malaria is not caused by the intake of oily and fried foods although it is advised not to eat them once infected”. He also said that malaria is caused by a protozoan parasite called plasmodium that is transmitted through the saliva of an infected female anopheles mosquito into the human system when bitten. Male mosquitoes don’t bite but feed on sugar from plants.

Still speaking, Mr. Kenrick said that most cases of malaria occurs in Sub-Saharan areas with pregnant women and under 5 children being the most victims while persons with sickle cell anemia (SS) are repellant to the disease. “Human malaria is caused by five different species of Plasmodium: P. falciparum, P. malariae, P. ovale, P. vivax  and P. knowlesi”. He therefore advised students to be properly diagnosed by blood test to know the type of malaria infection before commencing treatment. He also said that symptoms of malaria include fever, headaches, chills, severe anemia, cerebral malaria among others which may result in inflammation of the brain and death if not treated promptly with the right medication. He concluded his presentation by stating that mosquitoes breed rapidly under favourable climax condition and environment such as uncompleted buildings, tree trunk, dirty environments, stagnant water, human activities (keeping of unused jerricans), agricultural works, etc. Therefore, students were advised to always carryout sanitation.

Also speaking, Dr. David D. Shwe made a presentation on“Malaria Prevention” where he listed preventive measures against malaria to include health education, proper housing, maintaining a serene environment, use of insecticide treated nets, outdoor/indoor insecticide spray, vaccination, prompt diagnosis and appropriate therapy. Speaking on the behavior of mosquitoes, he said that mosquitoes are attracted to dark skinned persons than fair skinned persons.

Concluding his presentation, he said that challenges of malaria prevention include poor funding, shortage of manpower, poor managerial skills and policy formulation. As a way forward, he explained that sustained commitment, sustained increase funding, high quality case diagnosis, prompt, appropriate and safe treatment, research entomology, treatment and vaccines will go a long way in the fight against malaria.

In an interview with the convener, Miss Vivian said“I started ‘The Curb Malaria Project’ in 2017 when I was in my 200 level.” When asked of challenges faced thus far, she said the greatest challenge had always been mobilization of students to turn out for the program.

Offering the closing remark, the Faculty Officer of Arts, Mr. Jonathan M. Abimiku said, “I am proud that students are coming up with such programs,” while making reference to the ‘Keep FASA Clean’ organized by Senator Tashi Manasseh David. He said he came ignorant of certain facts about malaria but he is leaving well informed. Lastly, he advised that subsequent program be held at the Faculty of Arts Hall so that more students from the faculty can attend.

To spice up the event and lighten the mood of students, there were activities such as fastest fingers, jokes, dance, music and rap presentation.

At the end of the program, insecticide treated nets were distributed to students who attended the event.

Report and photos by Blessing Okon
Edited by JM (5/5)

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