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1.1 Background of the Study
Malaria is one of the most important causes of morbidity in the world. It is a vector borne infectious disease caused by a eukaryotic protista of the genus Plasmodium. The disease is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes which carry infective sporozoite stage of Plasmodium parasite in their salivary glands (Akinleye, 2009). It is transmitted from person to person through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito that is infected with one of the four species of Plasmodium: Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium malariae.
Malaria is of important public health concern in Nigeria especially because of its impact on child and maternal health (Orimadegun et al., 2007). It is responsible for close to 5 billion infections per annum worldwide and approximately 3 million deaths. Africa accounts for 90% of this burden (Breman et al., 2004). Children under five are vulnerable to severe attacks of malaria because of their lack of immunity. The disease is mainly transmitted by the bite of an infected female anopheline mosquito in man. In a minority of cases, it can be transmitted through blood transfusion or acquired congenitally. It is thus expected that preventing bites from malaria laden mosquitoes will reduce malaria transmission significantly.
The recognition of the unacceptable morbidity and mortality arising from malaria in Africa and the availability of evidence-based cost effective interventions led to the formation of the roll back malaria (RBM) initiative in 1988. The RBM movement aims to halve deaths attributable to malaria by 2010 and halve it again by 2015 by the use of 3 tools; Insecticide treated bed nets, effective artemisin based anti-malarial combination therapy and the use of insecticides which have also been documented to be cost effective interventions (Narasimhan and Attaran, 2003). However, the African malaria report for the year 2003 published by the WHO and UNICEF admitted that “Roll back malaria is acting against a background of increasing malaria burden” (www.rbm.int/amd2003/-amr2003/am-r_toc.htm).
Malaria is a form of disease is mostly seasonal in nature and unstable in characteristic, thus, predisposing a majority of the population to frequent epidemics. Of all the four Plasmodium species in the country, the two epidemiologically important species are Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax, type 60% and 40%, of the cases respectively. Anopheles arabiensis is the principal vector that can adapt to different ecological locations in Nigeria. This species type predominantly exists in small sunlit breeding sites flourishing after cessation of the rainy season and is known to play a crucial role in epidemic situations. Obviously, this is one of the major challenges in vector control.
Early detection and prompt treatment of malaria cases, selective vector control (indoor residual spray, use of insecticide treated mosquito nets and source reduction) and epidemic prevention and control are the major strategies adopted in the country. So far, the application of in-house insecticide spraying has been at the center of vector control operations.
Currently, insecticide treated mosquito nets (ITNs) have received serious attention and have raised renewed interest to serve as tools in malaria control. In Africa, the use of this control strategy has been proved to be cost effective means for the control of malaria, especially among children under 5 years of age and pregnant women.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The burden of malaria, its prevention and control remains a challenge despite the existence of effective technologies (WHO, 2003). In spite of the current efforts at providing free ITN to vulnerable groups, as part of the attainment of the millennium development goal, and the recognition by the Nigerian government that access to ITN and other malaria preventive and curative services which is a right to all vulnerable Nigerians (FMH, 2008). However, it has been revealed that net ownership does not always translate to use (Ordinioha, 2007) with factors such as low mosquito activity and high night time temperature capable of reducing use to as low as 20%. Low mosquito activity has particularly been noted to be a very important deterrent to ITN use in several communities in Nigeria, where the net is predominantly used for mosquito nuisance control, even as malaria transmission is stable and perennial in the communities (Ordinioha, 2007). Therefore, pregnant women should be encouraged to use ITNs to protect their unborn baby. A Study in Nigeria reveals that household ITN ownership and use remain below the current Roll Back Malaria targets of Universal coverage (Deressa, Fentie, Girma & Reithinger, 2011).
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study sought to know the effect of malaria and know how mosquito net can help to curb the menace of malaria fever in Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to;
i. identify the causes of malaria in Nigeria.
ii. evaluate the components of mosquito nets.
iii. examine how mosquito nets helped to reduce the menace of malaria fever.
1.4 Research Questions
i. What are the causes of malaria in Nigeria?
ii. What are the components of mosquito nets?
iii. How does mosquito net help to reduce the menace of malaria fever in Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
Ho: Mosquito net does not help to reduce the menace of malaria fever in Nigeria.
Hi: Mosquito net helps to reduce the menace of malaria fever in Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a bench mark or guide for other work or study.
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study
This study on mosquito nets and the reduction of the menace of malaria fever in Nigeria will cover all the causes of malarial in Nigeria today with a view of finding a lasting solution to the problem.
Limitations of study
1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are small, midge-like flies that constitute the family Culicidae. Females of most species are ectoparasites, whose tube-like mouthparts pierce the hosts' skin to consume blood. The word "mosquito" is Spanish for "little fly".
Mosquito Net: A mosquito net offers protection against mosquitos, flies, and other insects, and thus against the diseases they may carry.
Malaria Fever: A disease caused by a plasmodium parasite, transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The classic symptom of malaria is paroxysm—a cyclical occurrence of sudden coldness followed by shivering and then fever and sweating, occurring every two days (tertian fever) in P. vivax and P. ovale infections, and every three days (quartan fever) for P. malariae.
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