Sunday, August 7, 2022

Untreated malaria may cause mental problem, expert warns

According to the World Malaria Report by the WHO, there were 241 million malaria cases and 627,000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2020.

• July 1, 2022
World Health Organisation (Photo Credit: WHO)

Tobias John, a public health expert, on Friday warned that malaria might lead to common mental disorders if left untreated.

Mr John, North-East zonal coordinator of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) gave the warning in an interview in Gombe.

He stated that the warning was imperative in view of the dearth of proper awareness about malaria and the different health complications that untreated malaria could lead to.

Mr John added that malaria was sensitive to human health in view of the series of health complications that were related to the disease and its tendency to weaken the human immune system within a short time.

The NACA coordinator said if those suffering from malaria knew the implication of the disease on human health, “they will not hesitate to treat the disease; malaria is a life-threatening disease.

“Malaria can lead to brain damage and seizure when it results in anaemia or blood shortage which affects the functionality of the brain. Malaria causes a common mental disorder which is associated with improper flow of blood into the brain and when your blood level is low, it cannot move the quantum that is required to the brain for normal functionality,” he explained.

Mr John added, “Then you know that definitely your coordination will be affected and the brain can begin to react in the opposite direction or in diverse means. Once you get to that level, be rest assured that it has become complicated and such a person may begin to speak out of point, lose coordination which results in common mental disorder.”

The NACA coordinator also mentioned that malaria was an entry ailment to many other ailments, especially those associated with HIV, Tuberculosis and even COVID-19, hence the need to ensure proper prevention and treatment measures.

He advocated a quick-response approach to the treatment of malaria through proper testing before drug prescription, while cautioning against self-medication.

“Malaria until it is diagnosed you may not be able to know which parasite is responsible and the specific malaria medication. If you want to be specific on what needs to be done to cure malaria, we need to go for a laboratory testing, identify the plasmodium responsible; that will guide the treatment options,” said the health expert.

“Once that is done, it reduces the implications that come with malaria,” he said.

The public health expert appealed to Nigerians to take seriously the issue of malaria in view of its health complications on humans.

According to the World Malaria Report of WHO, there were 241 million malaria cases and 627,000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2020. This represents about 14 million more cases in 2020 compared to 2019, and 69,000 more deaths. 


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