Kate Henshaw made the commitment on Thursday, October 6, 2016, at an event organized in Lagos to suggest solutions on how best to combat the disease by creating malaria-based programs to promote malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in the country.
The actress voiced her support for National Malaria Elimination Programme and the Society for Family Health with a 2020 target date for eliminating up to 80% of current cases.
“In those days, people spoke about malaria as if it belonged to them with expressions like ‘I have malaria,’ ‘my malaria’ and ‘ordinary malaria.’ Surprisingly, after many years, these terms are still common place among family members, colleagues, and friends, irrespective of class or level of education,” Henshaw said.
“The starting point for behaviour change is the right knowledge. Poor education should not be a barrier in this 21st century when we have access to television, radio, internet, etc. It is time for the media to take up the challenge of creating malaria-based programs to promote malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment for a malaria-free Nigeria by 2020.
“These programs will help debunk several malaria-related myths such as ‘malaria is caused by standing in the sun, eating oily meals, witchcraft, working for too long, bad water, bad air and much more. It is time for you, every media personnel and individual seated here to take action against malaria.
“I have committed myself to support the fight against malaria in Nigeria by letting people know the benefits of sleeping inside the Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets, especially for children under 5 and pregnant women. It is also very important to have a Rapid Diagnostic Test done or microscopy done to be sure it is malaria before administering treatment with Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy – (ACT).”
She also stated that the media should play their part in informing Nigerians that all fevers are not malaria, also stressing that malaria tests should be conducted before any treatment is administered as it could be terminal if treated wrongly.
According to public health NGO, the Society for Family Health, accounts for 11% of maternal mortality and three in ten deaths of children less than five years old.