There is resurgence of malaria disease in Kano metropolis despite several efforts by government to reduce its spread in the state through free distribution of treated mosquito nets and malaria treatment drugs as well as regular fumigation.
Kano Chronicle observed that the disease has become a perennial health concern in the state with devastating effect on the populace especially during rainy season.
The burden of care in the conventional healthcare centres has forced many residents to rely on the informal settings such as patent medicine stores to seek medication within their means.
It is a common sight to see queues of patients waiting to be attended to by operators of such patent medicine stores at a relatively cheaper rate.
Findings by our reporters revealed that, most of the healthcare centres in the metropolis started recording high number of malaria cases since the beginning of rainy season about four months ago.
A visit to some of the healthcare facilities and pharmaceutical stores in the metropolis showed that majority of the patients are either suffering from malaria, typhoid fever and sometimes both.
It was further observed that the malaria incident this year has shown signs of resistance to treatment thereby making management of the disease more expensive than usual to average families.
Some of the care providers, who spoke to Kano Chronicle, acknowledged that though there is comparative decline in the rate of infection this year, the cost of treatment has increased as a result of the nature of the disease in some patients which resists usually medication.
Malam Sani Ibrahim, an attendant at Anur pharmacy said the cases of malaria infection in Kano metropolis this year had reduced compared to previous years largely due to government interventions, adding that the interventions helped immensely in reducing cases of malaria both in public and private healthcare centres across the city.
“Last year, it was a complete outbreak of the disease across many local government areas of the state and most of these cases were directly related to the hygienic nature of the environment. People don’t usually take personal and environmental hygiene seriously. There are many refuse dumps around lying head-to-head with residential buildings and many un-cleared gutters and drainages that provide breeding space for mosquitoes.
“If mosquitoes, being the major carrier of the malaria disease, continue to exist, we would keep on having this issue. Government is trying but individuals are seriously relenting on their part,” Ibrahim said.
Similarly, Malam Muhammad Kabir of Al-Siyam patent medicine store stated that stagnant water around residential areas had been the major cause of malaria because it serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“On daily basis we attend to 20 to 30 people with cases of malaria and we give the same treatment as obtained in the hospitals because we conduct tests to determine the level of the parasite before administering any medication in line with the rollback malaria system,” Kabir said.
He said majority of the people seeking care at his health facility on daily basis were women and children, adding that they started noticing increase in the prevalence rate of the disease about three months ago.
“It may reduce in the next few weeks. We know this is rainy season and from now up till cultivation time, mosquitoes tend to increase all over the place.
“Depending on the severity of their cases, we give them artemine treatment based on peripheral observation and for some patients, we take their blood samples for test and put them on proper medication.
“Indeed there were some cases of resistance to treatment but in most cases we observed that it was resulting from self-medication. So it is not resistance to proper medication per say. I am therefore advising people to desist from self medication,” he said.
Speaking about their experiences, some members of families affected by the malaria outbreak last year and this year told our reporters that cost of treating the disease had increased comparatively.
Malam Usman Ado, a resident of Hotoro North in Nassarawa local government area, said his wife and three children suffered the malaria attack last year and this year as well.
According to him, the last year’s attack was more severe than that of this year but he had spent more money in treatment this year.
“This year’s attack was not harsh but I spent a lot of money in its management and it takes longer period of treatment. I owed a chemist about N6, 000, I am lucky because I escaped the malaria attack, otherwise the situation would have been devastating,” he said.
For Ibrahim Amadu Gobirawa in Fagge local government, the malaria attack he suffered this year was entirely different from that of last year.
“I nearly lost my life and my family was plunged into confusion when I fainted due to severity of malaria attack I suffered this year, but I thanked God, I survived it,” he revealed.
When contacted, Dr Imam Wada Bello, Deputy Director Public Health and Diseases Control, Kano state ministry for health, said there was no issue of resistance to treatment.
“There are basically three factors responsible for the recurrent issues of malaria cases in the state for several years. Most of the drugs used in treating malaria are fake and substandard. Then the treated mosquito nets that are being given to people free, are not properly utilized. When properly used, they will kill the mosquito and protect users from their bites. Lastly, poor environmental sanitation is another cause,” he said.