Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Abia anti- mosquito breeding campaign will come on stream in few days ahead. The campaign, an initiative of the Technical Committee on Abia Numero Uno Agenda, is coordinated by Nwafor Nkwachukwu Nwanganga is anchored on four distinct factors which include infrastructural development, environmental hygiene, tax compliance, and good followership. The strong emphasis on these thematic areas is hinged on the assumption that infrastructural development, environmental hygiene, tax compliance, and good followership are all designed in the minds of human beings. Therefore decayed infrastructure, poor environmental hygiene, low rate of tax compliance, and non- committed followership are strongly believed to be panacea to mosquito breeding in Abia State.
Undoubtedly, the Abia appraoch on the prevention malaria, which anti- mosquito breeding approach, is a unique model. This is because previous efforts around the globe are aimed at curative measures rather than discouraging the breeding of mosquitoes which are the vectors or transmitters of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, zika virus, filariasis, dengue fever, , chikungunya, west nile virus, among others.
The Abia model is emphasizing more on some of the important measures in malaria control: discouraging egg laying and preventing the development of eggs into larvae and adults. Research has shown that the measures are more pro- active than other measures such kill the adult mosquitoes, do not allow adult mosquitoes into places of human dwelling, and prevent mosquitoes from biting human beings and deny them blood meals.
One of the veritable tools of this campaign is to identify major Mosquito Breeding Sites (MBS) in the state with the aim of dismantling them through sustainable infrastructural development. Besides, the problems of the minor Mosquito Breeding Sites such as construction sites around the homes, would be addressed through public enlightenment campaigns.
The Anti- Mosquito Breeding Campaign is domiciling a centre at Abia State College of Health Sciences and Management Technology. The centre, which is dedicated to Governor Okezie Ikpezia, who is doubles as the chief campaigner of the project is committed to developing an Anti- Mosquito Breeding Environmental Format (AMBEF).
Describing this project as laudable is an understatement considering the huge toll malaria and other related diseases spread by mosquito are exerting on world economy especially the Sub- Saharan Africa.
Studies have shown that malaria is one of the most severe public health problems worldwide. It is a leading cause of death and disease in many developing countries, where young children and pregnant women are the groups most affected. World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2013 and the Global Malaria Action Plan reveal that half of the world population (approximately 3.2 billion people ) live in areas at risk of malaria transmission in 106 countries and territories;in 2012, malaria caused an estimated 207 million clinical episodes, and 627,000 deaths. An estimated 91% of deaths in 2010 were in the African Region.
Of all the other regions of the world, Africa is the hardest hit. This is because a very efficient mosquito (Anopheles gambiae complex) is responsible for high transmission; the predominant parasite species is Plasmodium falciparum, which is the species that is most likely to cause severe malaria and death; local weather conditions often allow transmission to occur year round; scarce resources and socio-economic instability have hindered efficient malaria control activities. Because of the above factors, malaria has caused less deaths in other parts of the world , but can cause substantial disease and incapacitation, especially in rural areas of some countries in South America and South Asia.
The negative effects of malaria on the socio- economic conditions of individuals and their families include purchase of drugs for treating malaria at home; expenses for travel to, and treatment at, dispensaries and clinics; lost days of work; absence from school; expenses for preventive measures; expenses for burial in case of deaths. On the side of governments, the cost include maintenance, supply and staffing of health facilities; purchase of drugs and supplies; public health interventions against malaria, such as insecticide spraying or distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets; lost days of work with resulting loss of income; and lost opportunities for joint economic ventures and tourism.For instance, the direct costs: illness, treatment, premature death, are estimated to be at least US$ 12 billion per year.
The critical challenge malaria poses to the world has led to the evolution of several strategise and efforts at addressing it .These efforts include the Roll Back Malaria, inclusion of global malaria targets as part of Millennium Development Goal. Most recently is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aims at ending the malaria epidemic by 2030.Goal 3 of the SDG strives to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.Also, outside the US, other donor governments, multilateral institutions, and affected countries have helped to increase access to malaria prevention and treatment and reduce cases and deaths.The Global Technical Strategy for Malaria (2016-2030) was designed to reducing malaria incidence and mortality rates by at least 90% by 2030;eliminating the disease in at least 35 new countries, and preventing the disease’s re-establishment in countries that are malaria free.But despite these laudable efforts, there has been growing debates of the possibility of finally eradicating the disease.The US government, which is the largest donor to the world malaria efforts, increased its funding for bilateral malaria control efforts and research activities from $146 million in 2001 to was $861 million in 2016.
In the past, strategies and tools have been designed to control malaria, and they are insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN),indoor residual spraying with insecticides;diagnosis and treatment with antimalarial drugs, particularly artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs);intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp, a drug treatment for pregnant women that prevents complications from malaria for a woman and her unborn child);intermittent preventive treatment in infants (IPTi, a drug treatment aimed at reducing adverse effects of malaria in infancy); and seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC, a treatment course administered at monthly intervals to children aged 3 to 59 months during the high malaria transmission season). These strategies over time have proved less effective as malaria continue to exert untold hardship to some countries of the world, especially the Sub-Saharan world. Indeed, the Abia Anti- Mosquito Breeding Strategy is unique and more effective approach. It is our appeal to every well- meaning Abia resident to support this laudable initiative.