Combatting Malaria on Campus, and Safeguarding Overall Well-being of Students


By Elabor Awelu

Malaria, a life-threatening mosquito-borne disease, continues to pose a significant public health concern in Africa. Every 20th of August, World Mosquito Day is observed globally to raise awareness about mosquito-borne diseases. This year’s theme was “Fighting the World’s Deadliest Killer – the Mosquito.”
Despite considerable progress in combatting this disease, it remains a formidable challenge, especially among students in tertiary institutions across the continent. Malaria is one of the most commonly encountered illnesses among students on campuses throughout African countries. A research study conducted in a school in Southwestern Nigeria revealed a prevalent rate of students infected with malaria parasitemia at approximately 80.6% of the school population. In 2021, Nigeria earned the unenviable distinction of having the highest number of malaria cases and deaths globally, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) World Malaria Report.

Malaria is primarily caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are ubiquitous on our campus today, with hardly any place left untouched by their presence due to their prevalence in the environment. Many students, unaware of the danger, inadvertently expose themselves to mosquito bites, even while studying at night in mosquito-infested areas.

To combat this plague on our campus and align with this year’s World Mosquito Day theme, “Fighting the World’s Deadliest Killer – The Mosquito,” it is essential that we, as students, remain vigilant regarding our immediate environment, and rigorously adhere to recommended protective measures. This not only reduces the impact of malaria, but also minimizes visits to the school clinic.
Recommended measures to prevent malaria on campus include:

Eliminating Stagnant Water: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so it’s crucial to ensure there are no puddles, clogged drains, or containers holding water on or around the campus.

Using Mosquito Nets: Sleeping under mosquito nets is highly advisable to prevent mosquito bites at night. Effective use of mosquito nets significantly reduces the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

Use of Insecticides: It is also essential to spray Insecticides or repellents in rooms and ensure proper ventilation before going to bed at night.

Proper Disposal of Refuse: Refuse attracts mosquitoes, so regular and proper waste disposal is critical to prevent mosquito breeding in our environment. Avoid littering in public places as well.

Covering Body Parts at Night: It is strongly recommended to wear long clothing that covers the arms and legs, especially if one is outdoors at night. This can help prevent mosquito bites.

Maintaining Personal Hygiene: Regular handwashing and other hygienic practices are not only important for your health, but also for social interactions and overall well-being.
Overall, Nigeria experiences a high level of rainfall between June and September every year, and there are always reports of a significant increase in malaria transmission during these humid periods, it is on this note that we are all advised to take necessary measures and protect ourselves from malaria infection.

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