As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the 2013 World Malaria Day, Kuka Pharmaceuticals, marketer of one of the best anti-malaria drugs in the country (Zeramal QS), has vowed to do everything in its capacity to continue the campaign against the scourge of malaria diseases in the country.
Disclosing this in an interview with pressmen in his office in Lagos recently, Pharm. Chris Ukah, managing director of the company, described malaria as a dreaded disease which people fail to take notice of. He said that malaria is one of the top three killers of children in the developing world, adding that every minute a child dies of malaria.
Speaking further, Pharm. Ukah expressed concern at the report of the World Health Organization (WHO), which stated that in 2010 alone, malaria caused about 660,000 deaths, mostly among African children. He further noted that more than 264,000 of the 660,000 deaths occurred in Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo. He, however, added that, if things are done correctly, malaria is both preventable and curable.
Pharm. Ukah noted that the WHO and Ministry of Health of countries where malaria infestation is endemic have been doing a lot in the fight against malaria, but added that a lot is needed to be done, especially in the area of treatment of malaria.
The Kuka Pharma boss stated that “according to a WHO report, about 300 million cases of malaria are recorded annually, resulting to over a million deaths, of which Africa is said to account for 90 per cent of them, mostly in young children and pregnant mothers.
Quoting extensively from the WHO report, he said: “The huge budget allotted to fighting malaria by authorities in government in Africa constitutes a major drain in public health care expenditure of majority of countries in Africa. For instance, in Nigeria, official statistics estimates that the Federal Government loses over N300 billion annually to the malaria scourge. Therefore, when you talk of the concern it gives Nigerians, I think it is a huge threat to every home and to the social and economic emancipation of countries in Africa. However, efforts currently being made by authorities in the health sector at the global, continental and national circles, through the agency of WHO, are welcome developments towards the eradication of malaria on the continent. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the efforts of the director-general of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, to sanitise the health sector, especially in the area of reducing existence of counterfeit and adulterated drugs, using cutting-edge technologies is also highly commendable.”
While speaking on the theme of the 2013 World Malaria Day “Invest in the future: Defeat malaria,” Pharm. Ukah explained that approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. He, however, disclosed that Kuka Pharmaceuticals has taken it upon itself to partner with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS), and other relevant health bodies to organise seminars, sensitisation programmes and awareness campaign programmes on the need to live in a malaria-free environment by staying off mosquito bites, proper waste disposal and environmental sanitation.
When asked on the affordability and safety of Zeramal QS, Pharm. Ukah explained that the product is a flagship anti-malaria brand from Kuka Pharmaceuticals. He added that Zeramal Qs was introduced into the Nigerian market late last year and has been well received across the wide spectrum of the Nigerian end users because of its efficacy in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria. “The product is highly affordable and it cannot be faked, as it is covered by Mobile Authentication Service Technology (MAS), which affords end-users to scratch and text the pin on the pack for confirmation.”