School Of Health Technology [SOHT], Federal University of Technology, Owerri held it 5th lecture series recently. The lecture was delivered by a renowned lecturer of department of public health, Dr. Uchechukwu Chukwuocha titled ‘Antimalarial drug resistance: Molecular considerations and implications for evidence based research in Nigeria’.
“Malaria is a disease of poverty and major hindrance to economic development” Said Chukwuocha and that notwithstanding the number of malaria deaths across the world, “the actual number deaths are not known with certainty, as accurate data unavailable in many rural areas and many cases are undocumented”.
On the factors that contribute to the spread of resistance he stated human behaviour-drug pressure due to complacency, indiscriminate drug usage and adulterated drugs; and biological influence as in pharmacokinetic of drugs and reaction with parasite, decreased immunity, malnutrition and cross reactivity with drugs for other ailments.
He therefore listed the tools that can be used to monitor drug resistance to include therapeutic efficacy test, in vitro studies of parasite susceptibility to drugs in culture, case detection, molecular methods of gene mutations or gene amplifications associated with parasite resistance.
He calls on the need for high-quality monitoring of antimalarial drug resistance, sustained funding and encouragement of high level research for routine monitoring, continuous surveillance of molecular drug resistance to inform better planning and effective/timely implementation of drug policies based on evidence which will help in the timely detection of resistance for any particular drug in use at any point in time so that changes in drug policy can be made in time, and there is need to routinely evaluate and update our malaria treatment policies.
In his remark, the Dean, School of Health Technology [SOHT] calls on the students to be committed and dedicated in their academic studies as the future of Africa lies in their hand, for Malaria, HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis are the major diseases affecting Africa, so I encourage you to go into research in these and many more diseases.
The attractive part of the lecture is the issue of the advocacy by the lecturer for the return of Chloroquine and sickle cell patient’s malaria which drew a series of intellectual debate by scholars, whereby Dr. Sikiru Lamina, Dr Okorie, Engr Azeez and Prof A. N. Amadi brainstorm to the delight of student.
Mohammed Sani, Public health department, FUT, Owerri