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AFP Examines Insecticide Resistance’s Effect On Malaria Fight In Nigeria

Agence France-Presse examines the increase in insecticide-resistant mosquitoes in Nigeria – “the latest threat to combating malaria” in the country. “Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, contributes more than a quarter of the one million malaria deaths in Africa, according to official statistics,” AFP writes. At a recent meeting in the capital of Abuja, experts and policy makers “highlighted the dangers of mosquito resistance to insecticides arising mainly from the heavy use of agro-chemical pesticides,” as another challenge to controlling the disease.

“The problem of insecticide resistance is very real and growing,” said Peter Cleary, communications director of Vestergaard Frandsen, a manufacturer of insecticide-treated nets. “There is concern that the malarial vectors are becoming resistant to the entire class of insecticides the WHO (World Health Organisation) approves,” he said. “Resistance is the ‘first warning sign that you have to take necessary measures to ensure that the few insecticides we have … will be effective,’ said Sam Awolola, a scientist with Nigerian Institute of Medical Research,” AFP reports.

Researchers also raised the possibility that resistance could become even worse if people have access to cheap and low quality nets. “With a government target to roll out 62 million bednets in Nigeria by the end of next year, there are fears fake products might filter into the country previously notorious for fake pharmaceutical drugs. ‘Instead of a net being 100 percent impregnated (with an insecticide) they may be 50 percent impregnated, and that means the mosquitoes get half a dosage, survive and pass the gene to the next generation and resistance builds,’ said Awolola, adding “unfortunately we have a very porous market in Nigeria'” (Njanji, 12/10).

U.N. Special Envoy For Malaria To Visit Nigeria, Kenya

Ray Chambers, the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for malaria, “is visiting Nigeria and Kenya this week, the two nations which together account for one third of the estimated 1 million deaths worldwide from the deadly disease,” the U.N. News Centre writes. Chambers is visiting Nigeria first and will highlight the country’s progress in fighting the disease.  

“Ensuring universal access to malaria-control tools – insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor spraying with insecticides, and effective medication – by 2010 is critical for both countries to reach the Secretary-General’s goal of near-zero global malaria deaths by 2015,” according to the news source (12/9).

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