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Malaria Signs And Malaria Drugs in Nigeria

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Senior Resident Doctor | Medical Researcher
Malaria signs and Malaria drugs in Nigeria
Malaria signs and Malaria drugs in Nigeria

It is only a few diseases that evoke as much concern and urgency as malaria, particularly in regions like Nigeria where it remains a significant public health challenge.

Understanding malaria signs and the array of drugs available for its treatment is not just important for healthcare professionals but also helps the average Nigerian to take proactive measures for prevention and treatment.

In this article, we discuss Malaria signs you should watch out for should you get infected. We also outline the different medications that serve as Malaria drugs in Nigeria.

Malaria Explained

Malaria signs

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by plasmodium parasites which are transmitted through the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito.

In 2018, there were an estimated 228 million cases of malaria world-wide with an estimated number of deaths from malaria totaling 405,000 in that same year.

Children less than 5 years of age are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria as evident in a research carried out in 2018 which reported that 67% of malaria deaths worldwide occurred in children within this age group.

Malaria Signs You Should Know

Malaria signs

Malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite and transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. It manifests through a variety of signs and symptoms. Early recognition of these signs can lead to timely intervention and better outcomes for you.

Here are some common signs to watch out for:

 1. Fever and Flu-like illness:

 Fever is often the first sign of malaria and is typically accompanied by chills and sweating. It may occur in cycles, with symptoms worsening and improving periodically.

2. Central Headaches and Body Aches:

 Another major Malaria sign is the frequent headaches at the centre of your head, and body aches that come with it. You’d notice these as they contribute to overall discomfort and illness.

 3. Fatigue:

 Malaria can induce extreme fatigue and weakness which often affects one’s daily activities and productivity.

 4. Nausea and Vomiting:

 Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are common gastrointestinal symptoms associated with malaria infection. The vomiting can possibly come with seizures in young children.

5. Jaundice:

 In severe cases, malaria can lead to jaundice, characterized by yellowing of the skin and eyes due to liver dysfunction.

6. Cognitive Symptoms:

 Some people may exhibit confusion, irritability, and other cognitive symptoms, particularly in cases of cerebral malaria.

Other Malaria signs also include:  Dry cough, Rapid breathing, Diarrhea, Abdominal pain, Muscle or joint pain.

Malaria Drugs in Nigeria

Malaria drugs in Nigeria
Malaria Signs And Malaria Drugs in Nigeria 7

As one of the most affected countries by malaria, Nigeria has a diverse array of drugs available for Malaria treatment and prevention. The treatment options for Malaria in Nigeria range from traditional remedies to modern pharmaceutical interventions (commonly referred to as English medicine).

Below are some of the key malaria drugs commonly used in Nigeria:

1. Artemisinin-Based Combination Therapies (ACTs):

 ACTs are the frontline treatment for uncomplicated malaria recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). They combine artemisinin derivatives with other antimalarial drugs to enhance efficacy and reduce the risk of drug resistance.

Currently, only Four ACTs are recommended by WHO: artesunate–mefloquine, artesunate–sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine (SP), artesunate–amodiaquine, and artemether–lumefantrine.

 2. Chloroquine:

Despite the emergence of resistance in certain regions, chloroquine remains widely used for the treatment of malaria in Nigeria, particularly for Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale infections.

3. Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP):

 SP is widely known as Anti-malaria. It is commonly used for intermittent preventive treatment in pregnant women to reduce the risk of malaria-related complications during pregnancy.

This medicine may also be used to prevent malaria in people who are living in, or will be traveling to, an area where there is a chance of getting malaria.

Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is sold under the brand name Fansidar. For the treatment of malaria it is typically used along with other antimalarial medication such as Artesunate.

4. Mefloquine:

 Mefloquine is another antimalarial drug used in Nigeria, primarily for the prevention of malaria in travelers to endemic regions.

It is available in the United States by prescription only. But everywhere else, you can get it as a generic medicine, and it is sold under the brand name Lariam.

5. Primaquine:

 Primaquine is prescribed for the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale malaria to prevent relapse. As an antimalarial agent, it is usually the essential co-drug with Chloroquine in treating all cases of malaria.

This medication is available under many brand names worldwide, including Jasoprim, Malirid, Neo-Quipenyl, Pimaquin, Pmq, Primachina, Primacin, Primaquina, Primaquine, Primaquine diphosphate, Primaquine Phosphate, and Remaquin.

Fast Facts to Know About Malaria:

Malaria signs

• Malaria is endemic in 91 countries and territories. Currently, over half of the world’s population is at risk for malaria with malaria prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa remaining the highest in the world.

• Nigeria accounts for 56% of malaria cases in the West African sub-region.

• Malaria Control is carried out through the recommended malaria treatment and prevention intervention. The choice of intervention is dependent on the malaria transmission level in the area.

• The following interventions make up the essential package of malaria interventions:

° Diagnosis and treatment of patients with malaria

° Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs)

° Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnant women (IPTp)

° Indoor residual spraying (IRS)

Message from KompleteCare Telemedicine

Malaria signs

In the fight against malaria, knowledge is a powerful weapon. By familiarizing ourselves with the signs of malaria and the range of drugs available for its treatment, we can actively contribute to prevention efforts and ensure prompt access to effective treatment when needed.

In Nigeria, where malaria continues to pose a significant burden on healthcare systems and communities, raising awareness and promoting access to quality care are paramount.  This is why you must not wait till your symptoms gets worse before seeing a doctor.

Using KompleteCare, you can consult a certified doctor right from the comfort of your phone and get the right drug prescriptions suitable for you.  Remember that self-medication can be dangerous. Why endanger your life and health when a real doctor is just a click away?

What is the best way to eradicate Malaria from Africa?

(i) early detection
(ii) rapid treatment
(iii) multiple means for prevention
(iv) well-coordinated action
(v) a dynamic global movement
(vi) focused research

In 2000, the United Nations general assembly adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), setting a target to halt and begin reversing malaria incidence by 2015 (This was later shifted to 2030).

In 2008, the United Nations adopted April 25 as World Malaria Day – a day set aside to recognize the global efforts geared towards the control and eradication of Malaria.

From 2007-2009, results of Phase II clinical trials of Mosquirix in Mozambique showed that the drug provides partial protection against malaria. In 2009, the phase III field trials began which made it Africa’s largest malaria vaccine trial, to date, involving 15,000 infants and children in seven countries.

By 2011, trial data from Africa showed that the drug halves the number of malaria episodes in children aged 5 – 17 months, making it receive the green light from European Union drug regulators who recommended it to be licensed for use.
In 2016, the world invited African Countries to take part in a Mosquirix vaccine Pilot involving up to 800,000 children aged 5 to 9 months.
The 2019 World Malaria day was themed “END MALARIA FOR”. This theme reflects the vision of a malaria free world which was set out in the Global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030.

What are the future control strategies for Malaria

The End-Malaria initiative is still expanding. This year, Dr Richards expects the announcement of a new tranche of countries the E-2025 that they expect will reach zero cases by 2025 as all hands will be out on deck on continuing support to countries with a high burden of malaria and those accelerating towards elimination.

Even though elimination is undoubtedly a longer-term goal, it is the ultimate objective that all malaria-endemic countries should aim for.

To support countries on the path towards elimination, the WHO Global Technical Strategy outlines the critical requirements needed to achieve and maintain elimination at every level of malaria transmission intensity in every endemic country, focusing on the need for:
• country ownership and tailored responses
• strengthened surveillance
• equity in access to health services
• innovation in malaria control tools


RBM: The Global Malaria Action Plan: For a malaria-free world. Geneva: Roll Back Malaria Partnership, 2009.
WHO: World Malaria Report. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2019.
WHO: Global plan for insecticide resistance management in malaria vectors. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2012.
WHO: Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016 2030. June 2015, World Health Organization, 2015
World Economic Forum: A timeline of our efforts to eradicate malaria- How close are we? Thomson Reuters Foundation Trust, World Economic Forum, 2016.

Medical Disclaimer aims to improve the quality of life for everyone with fact-based content about the nature of diseases, preventive care, behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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Dr. Yisa Gloria (MBBS, MWACP) is a Senior Resident Doctor in the Department of Family Medicine, National Hospital, Abuja.

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