For this year’s World Malaria Day, April 25th; Ben Akpeji, writer, has combined literature and malaria disease to spark a trend in the global enlightenment campaign against malaria. In his book titled MOSQUITO: NOT A FRIEND, the writer tells the devastating story of malaria, giving it a hard shot and hoping to raise more awareness of the simple preventive tips of this avoidable disease. Among other tips, he harps on the need for net and keeping our environment always clean and tidy.
The 40 pages pupils’ education book singled out malaria as the major health challenge across strata, robbing off heavily on school attendance and of course on the economy.
No one tells the story of malaria and mosquito like Ben Akpeji has done and this he adduces to the fact that malaria is the only disease he is always battling with. This bothers him. He describes the small killer insect as the smallest of animals but has killed more than any other animal. “Small but deadly” is his perfect description of this haggard and miserable insect that is a respecter of no person; that does not only bites but also inflicts the body with malaria parasite; also brings irritating buzz to the ears, making a beautiful night sleep become nightmare.
Considering the devastating effects of this disease, the author went further to opine that more campaigns are necessary; and it would not be out of place to introduce malaria as a full topic in health science classes in our primary school curriculum. By this children will be well informed early enough to know that mosquito is indeed not a friend.
Remarking about the book, Dr Akin Sodipo, former Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, Oyo State chapter, who forewords the book, describes it as a laudable literary reminder that could go a long way to positively influence the attitude of pupils towards this preventable disease. While using the occasion to wish the people of Oyo state happy World Malaria Day, he also challenged everyone to be responsible for the cleanliness of his/her environment to always keep mosquitoes and malaria disease at bay.
Also commenting about the book, malaria expert, Professor George Ademowo of the Institute for Advance Medical Research Planning and Training, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, qualifies the book to have captured concisely the message on mosquitoes and malaria elimination; which is perfect for use not only for primary schools but for readers at all levels.
The highly recommended book is beautifully illustrated with colours and well-articulated in simple language. It is also being translated to our local languages – Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo; and of course in French language. The essence of this according to the author is to give the book a wider audience to ensure no one is left behind in the fight against malaria. Besides, the author also believes it is a gospel that should be preached to everyone everywhere in the language best understood; so as to be well informed about the war against mosquitoes and malaria.