Dr. Dorothy Hanson, a Medical Officer at the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) at Tema, said drinking herbal medicines does not kill malaria parasites but only treats the symptoms.
“No matter the number of herbal concoctions patients consume, that will not clear the parasites from their system,” she said, and that most of those who relied on herbal medications always ended up in the hospital for treatment.
This is because the parasites remained in their bodies even after they thought they had done the treatment.
Speaking at the Ghana News Agency’s health communication platform in Tema, Dr. Hanson said some species of the parasite, especially the plasmodium, could remain in the body for years without causing sickness.
“Sometimes the plasmodium remains in the liver stage of the malaria transmission process for years without causing any sickness…and if not treated, it could reactivate and cause relapses several years or months later.”
Explaining the transmission process, she said: “When an infected female anopheles mosquito bites a person, it injects the parasites into the bloodstream, which subsequently travel to the liver, where they stay and mature, after which they leave and infect the red blood cells, causing symptoms such as fever.”
She, therefore, encouraged the public to seek the right treatment for malaria to avoid relapses, which could be severe and lead to health issues, including kidney failure, liver problems, anaemia, defects in babies, and miscarriages.
Dr. Hanson also encouraged people to test for the parasites before starting any treatment, as other illnesses might have the same symptoms.
Francis Ameyibor, the Tema Regional Manager of Ghana News Agency, said the media communication platform, dubbed: “Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility,” is an active media advocacy channel for healthcare professionals to share information on public health.
Health problems were non-negotiable, he said, and called for concerted efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle.
“You must be the first person to protect your health; let us be aware of issues that may endanger our lives, work, and people around us,” he said.
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