Professor Onwuliri’s Contribution to Malaria Research

farewell2.jpgThe recent fatal crash of Dana Air in Lagos, Nigeria claimed the life of a renown parasitologist and educator, Professor C.O. Onwuliri, most recently the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri. In his remembrance we are sharing the abstracts of two recent malaria publications of which he was a co-author. His various publications also focus on onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis and other parasitic diseases.

Perceptions on the use of insecticide treated nets in parts of the Imo River Basin, Nigeria: implications for preventing malaria in pregnancy. Chukwuocha UM, Dozie IN, Onwuliri CO, Ukaga CN, Nwoke BE, Nwankwo BO, Nwoke EA, Nwaokoro JC, Nwoga KS, Udujih OG, Iwuala CC, Ohaji ET, Morakinyo OM, Adindu BC. Afr J Reprod Health. 2010; 14(1): 117-28.

ABSTRACT: This study aimed at assessing perceptions on use of ITNs in parts of the Imo River Basin, Nigeria and its implications in preventing malaria in pregnancy. Data was collected using focus group discussions, key informant interviews and structured questionnaires. Results showed high awareness on the benefits of ITNs. Factors affecting use of ITNs included its high cost, perceptions of chemicals used to treat them as having dangerous effects on pregnancy, low utilization of antenatal care, husband’s lack of interest in malaria prevention and perceptions  that adolescent girls are at low risk of getting malaria. The implications of these findings include demystifying the negative perceptions on the chemicals used for net treatment and subsidizing the cost of ITNs to increase access. These findings provide important lessons for malaria programmes that aim at increasing  access to ITNs by pregnant women in developing countries.

Malaria infection in HIV/AIDS patients and its correlation with packed cell volume (PCV). Goselle ON, Onwuliri CO, Onwuliri VA. J Vector Borne Dis. 2009; 46(3): 205-11.

OBJECTIVES: The study was designed: (i) to determine the prevalence of malaria parasites; (ii) to determine the relationship between parasitaemia and age/sex; (iii) to correlate the PCV levels with parasitaemia; and (iv) to determine the influence of protection against natural transmission on the prevalence of malaria.

METHODS: Participants were recruited at the Plateau State Human Virology Research Laboratory (PLASVIREC), Robert Gallo House at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital, Jos and grouped into: (i) Malaria and HIV co-infection group (n = 64);  and (ii) HIV infected group without concurrent malaria infection (n = 136). Standard laboratory procedures were used for the HIV and Plasmodium parasites screening, malaria parasite density, and packed cell volume.

RESULTS: The results showed a significant difference (p >0.05) among the sexes and age groups. About 64 (32%) of the individuals had Plasmodium infection (30% Plasmodium falciparum, 0.5% P. malariae, and 1.5% mixed infections of P. falciparum and P. malariae). Malaria parasites were more common among the rural dwellers and in the age group of 21-30 yr. Regression analysis showed a negative  association of malaria parasitaemia and PCV among the malaria-HIV positive and malaria-HIV negative (r2 = 0.529; p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: In the present study, PCV might be of useful indicator and if not monitored could lead to AIDS establishment especially where  high malaria parasitaemia is noted. The findings further suggest that the defined stage of HIV infection in the study, malaria coinfection may moderate the impact  of HIV infection on PCV.

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