Malaria and the commercial on Lonart



The commercial on Lonart, a brand of artemether/lumefantrine combination made by the Indian company Bliss Gvs Pharma Ltd and marketed in Nigeria by Greenlife Pharmaceuticals never ceases to amuse me. The commercial plays regularly on television, and there is also a regular radio version of it. There were earlier editions, on television and on radio, respectively. Now, there are ones.

But, I still prefer the older television version. In this, a lawyer was prosecuting an apparently remorseless “Malaria” represented by a man that looked like an imp, with all his body painted in yellow. He could have walked straight out of a Hollywood alien horror movie. With “all” the lawyer accused “Malaria” of doing, and with “Malaria’s” conduct in court, you would expect that the judge would not be lenient with “Malaria”.
To raise hopes of a possible delivery of a proportionate punishment, the judge, with a scowl on his face, even started his sentence with “Malaria, your days are numbered!” But much to my disappointment the judge went on to say “Malaria, I hereby remand you in Lonart’s custody!” And the people in court rejoiced, chanting repeatedly “Malaria own don kwafuka,” but, to their own peril! For those of us who treat malaria, that kind of “sentence” is hardly comforting.

Ok, with the new Lonart advert there has been “improvement” in the way “Malaria” is now being “dealt” with. The punishment for “Malaria” according to the judge’s ruling is that “Malaria” has now been sentenced to “life imprisonment”. That is good, but still not enough. There is “The Great Escape” and even in Nigeria we have “Presidential pardon.” Why not apply the maximum punishment for “Malaria”?
Malaria still remains a major global killer. More than one million people die from malaria every year. It is estimated that in Africa one child dies of malaria every 30 seconds.  Yet, resistance to conventional malaria treatment is on the rise, even to ACTs (Artemesinin-based combination therapy), which is WHO standard drug for malaria treatment.

You would never find me under a mosquito net, even if it is treated. And there are many like me. Even the hope for a malaria vaccine is still a long way off. The talk by scientists of genetically modified male mosquitoes that are designed to pass down a suicide gene that will kill their own offspring is still like a pipe dream. Therefore, there is still need for cutting-edge technologies to produce drugs that are effective in the treatment of malaria – which malaria cannot be resistant to!
With malaria, it should be an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Lonart, and others like it should be “decisive” and “ruthless” with “Malaria”. Until “Malaria” is “sentenced” to “death”, with no appeal, and it is seen that there is a proper “execution”, “Malaria” will continue to find a way out to “kill” us humans.

Cosmas Odoemena,
Lagos

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