Kate Henshaw has added to her charitable gestures by pledging to be an advocate of malaria awareness.
The Nollywood actress made the commitment on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at an event organised in Lagos to proffer solutions in combating the terminal disease.
‘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.
Henshaw voiced her support for National Malaria Elimination Programme and the Society for Family Health in their fight against malaria with a 2020 target date for eliminating up to 80% of current cases.
‘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 added.
She also tasked all media outlets to educate citizens on the deadliness of malaria, which, 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.
‘I implore the media to let Nigerians know that not all fevers are malaria; let Nigerians know that people are dying from malaria when malaria is a preventable and treatable illness; let Nigerians know that testing using RDT to confirm malaria before treatment is the way to go. The best medicine for malaria treatment is Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies – what we know as (ACTs). It is very affordable and accessible.’