SMALL DOCTOR, where art thou?
This is the season of the rain and of the mosquito! Small Doctor is the nickname of Temitope Adekunle the musician from downtrodden Agege, a suburb of Lagos, who sang hardly known mosquito killer but almost levelled up with high flying stars, such as Olamide, when he came up with Gbera.
Mosquito killer is like a rudderless ship on a stormy sea, direction less and prone to wreckage. Even when the Small Doctor came up with a video presentation to charge the batteries, literally speaking, the effort would appear to come to naught. For, still there was no clearly visible message in the marketing matching. The lyrics are all about “I dey kill mosquito well well” which translates somewhat as “I am good at killing mosquitoes”. But, for goodness sake, which mosquitoes are these? Are they the treasury thieves or the social parasites Tunji Braithwaite said in a presidential election campaign were “rats and cockroaches” he would eliminate from the corridors of power if he became president of Nigeria in 1979 or 1983?” or, are they real mosquitoes which kill hundreds of thousands of Nigerians every year, striking the young and the old, men and women, pregnant women and infants?
I took little interest in MOSQUITO KILLER until the idea for this column came up, just before the rain season when scorching heat deploys hordes of mosquitoes into many homes.
I thought about the Small Doctor, about Mosquito killer and about Mr. Erumoselle Sanni Isah. Mr. isah runs a communications ideas company in Lagos, still into productions which generates marketing ideas. I wondered what he would do with Mosquito Killer if it comes his way. As for me, I would make a video in which the Small Doctor would don the garb of a sanitary inspector, Fumigating all open drains and water receptacles, handing out “treated” mosquito nets and making small talk about how to keep the mosquito at bay, to reduce the incidence of malaria and malaria fever induced deaths and things like that. The dancing will be minimal. The message will ride high on it. It is possible the government or the World Health Organization (WHO) or any other organization would recognize the Small Doctor and make him its “Ambassador” in the battle against the mosquito! Mr. isah agrees such a project may make the Small Doctor to “blow”, as they say in the Nigerian music industry. Meanwhile, the Small Doctor has caught on a little more in the market with GBERA than he did with MOSQUITO KILLER. This new song is about dog racing a current social trend which he has highlighted from the shadows to the point that this title, GBERA, has gained the currency of a slang in the crowded streets and neighborhoods. I hope that the video presentation would not lack a good massage.
On a more serious note, the mosquito Killer of old is back in town. This time, it is called mosquito catcher. I do not remember what name it bore in the 1950s when my father hung it from the ceiling of our rooms. It looked like a roll of photographic film unwound from the spool and bore a sticky surface with sweet fragrance. The fragrance invited to it insects such as the fly, the cockroach. Once they perched on it, presumably for the “nectar” they got gummed to the wax and died there. And when in my fathers’ opinion, this device had caught enough insects, he brought it down and fixed a new one. I guess this protected our family against mosquito bites and malaria fever. But the mosquito killer disappeared from the Nigerian market soon after the country’s independence. I took little or no notice of it when I grew up and was on my own.
Thought of it flooded back to me last month when, like many people in Lagos, I was bombarded by a hail of mosquitoes every night despite a perfect mosquito-proof netting on all windows in the house. You only needed to run your palm over your arm to realize many mosquitoes had lined up there for a while to suck your blood. I hate the mosquitos spray and the mosquito coil because of the dangerous side effects of their chemicals. And I was to learn the well-advertised anti-mosquito body cream, which keeps mosquitos away from you, have bits of insecticides. Bits of them are said to be safe for human health. But I have learned to see well beneath the surface of such claims. I am persuaded the explosion in the use of mosquito insecticides (sprays and coils and ‘air fresher’s) have a hand in the growing wave of asthma and respiratory ailments, and even cancer of all sorts.
WHEN my bedroom became a semblance of a mosquito den a few weeks ago, I went for a brand of insect (including mosquito) catcher which performed some wonders my son who hung one on the ceiling of his room says the mosquitoes are virtually gone. Mrs. Florence Akinbom Fusi has another testimony and has promised to tell mosquito-troubled people about her experience. She and her daughters, Cella and Daisy, were finding it difficult to enjoy a shared evening, watching television, in the sitting-room because of mosquitos. Their bedrooms faired only a little better. But since they have been using the mosquito catcher in these rooms, they have encountered little or no mosquito menace. Mrs. Fusi says she doesn’t know how it works for she has found no mosquitoes stuck to the insect catcher. Rather, she has seen flying termites, those winged insects which besiege a light source for warmth, the evening after a rain. As children we caught plenty of them, threw them in a bucket or bowel of water, washed them thoroughly, strung them on a clear broomstick, immersed the broomsticks in saline (salt) water and finally roasted the game for a meal. Mrs. Fusi says it is possible the mosquitoes get near the insect catcher and are knocked out and down by the smell of chemical on the wax. I tend to believe her because my son’s insect catcher, too, like mine, has caught no mosquito, yet our rooms are mosquito free, and actually, there is a mosquito impression on the package of the product. The experiences of other users of this product should make interesting reading. I suspect the mosquito catcher even better when stuck to the celling near and electric light source. But what happens when power fails all through the night?
Many people like me can live with the mosquito for as long as it doesn’t disturb our sleep by humming into our ears. Such people are GENOTYPE as AA people buckle easily. SS and SC genotype people are the worst. AS people take things for granted. Maybe they wouldn’t, if they knew that the mosquito can cause disease similar in severity to the Lassa fever caused by a specie of rats. For AA, SS and SC people, the fear of the mosquito should be the beginning of wisdom. Thus, after several bouts in one year with the attendant loss of energy, money and the time to do useful things, they seek help from alternative medicine when pharmaceutical medicines have failed. I have an AA genotype son who, like the mother, also an AA, has outgrown his malaria fever attacks. Mr. Rogba Okunlade, one of my colleagues, first at The Guardian Newspaper and later at The Comet Newspaper, should remember this story. Mr. Okunlade and I traveled in his car to Babcock University for the matriculation of Marylyn, daughter of an acquaintance of mine. Halfway through the programme, I received a text message on my cell phone from the boarding house master of my son at MODEL COLLEGE, KANKON, near Badagry. It read: “Your son is ill, come quickly otherwise it may be too late”.
We rushed out on a journey of about 100 kilometers through Sango Ota, Ilaro/Ado Odo and places such as these, suffering three tyre bust. To cut the story shot, we brought him to June 1 Hospital on Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos, where, in addition to his medication he also took his herbs. These included Lemon grass tea, Karela tea and Egungun eja (Brimstone). I can vouch for them all in the therapy to prevent or cure malaria fever. There is yet another called Chanka Piedra called stone Crusher by the Asians because it dissolves kidney and gall bladder stones. It is a tropical rain season herbs the Yorubas call Ehenbi Sowo or Ehin Olube. These herbs are bitter. So, many children, including my son, didn’t like them. I was tired of being summoned at short notice to pick a sick child from school. So, I struck a deal with my son. He had attained the age during which young boys become conscious of their bodies and wish to grow muscles for sex or other appeal. At that time, I sold a product named MUSCLE BLAST, which sportsmen took to grow muscles. I did not like him to take tinned milk or powder tinned milk or powder milk to school. The damaging effects of the sludges they cause in the intestine were obvious in oral thrust (candida) on his tongue, breadth and foul-smelling poop.
THE MUSCLE BLAST is sweet, and, so, I would not give it to anyone who does not burn sugar by the minute. But I conceded it to him. In his presence, to carry him along as they say, I mixed one whole jar with one whole can of FOREVER ALO LITE, a nutritional milk formula, and the powder of lemon grass, Brimstone, Karela and Ehinbisowo. The taste was balanced slightly in favour of Sweet. The anti-malarial herbs did their jobs well in this unusual marriage. And till he left school, my son never came down with malaria fever. When I lived in a company house at Ikeja, I grew about 100 heads of Lemon grass the flower beds which lined the perimeter fences. I also grew Blue Vervain (Verbana Histata) for the Iiver, gums, sound sleep etc. and sundry other herbs. I obtained the powder herbs from Mrs. Elizabeth Obauwana, of Health ways, who freeze-dried them at Iju for sale on Allen Avenue. Today, although she is still agile enough for such business, this well-known florist would appear to have developed interest in other fields of human activity. I will always remember her especially for KARELA, which also helps to lower blood sugar. As for Lemon grass, no one in my family had breakfast without having taken a glass or two or Lemon grass tea in those years our children were growing up. Such was my confidence that Plasmodium, the mosquito-injected parasite which causes malaria fever, cannot exist in a bloodstream infused with Lemon grass that I briefly advised our doctors not to give our children anti-malaria injections or other medications whenever they ran temperature and went to hospital. Many doctors, quite naturally, like to climb a mountain not from the summit. Thus, unless a blood test had been run to guide them, they would like to assume malaria attack. It is only after anti-malaria medications seem not to work that other assumptions would come up. Only few doctors add antibiotics to the starter anti-malaria. I had read of the finding of a study by Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and of another by the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIR) that hot water extracts of Lemon grass effectively kill Plasmodium in the blood stream without much ado. In my work as a public advocate of Traditional Medicine, there was a time I wore Lemon grass oil as perfume to invite attention to lemon grass medicine. If people who were down with malaria were brought to my office, I would ask them to procure water in 1.5 litters bottle. Into this, I would discharge between two and three drops of lemon grass essential oil. Within about 30 minute or one hour of sipping the water, they would be on their feet again, agile and cracking. I often did the same with (clove oil) for people who had tooth ache.
Another proprietary product I will not easily forget is DOMKAT ALI, sold by DYNAPHARM. Known more for its potential to boost stamina, especially for male Sexual Virility, Domkat Ali has at least one anti-malarial component which gives it the kicks against plasmodium: all of these, and many more that would be mentioned from time to time, should help the earnest health hunter overcome the menace of mosquitoes this rain season. For the Small Doctor, nothing is lost as yet. I DEY KILL MOSQUITO WELL WELL is an evergreen lyric which will continue to sell for as long as there are mosquitoes around to torment our health and disturb our peace of mind, and for as long message in this song (MOSQUITO KILLER) can be well adapted to our circumstances and immediate needs.
So let us all welcome the rain season and the mosquito with more confidence irrespective of whether our genotype is AA, SS or SC or even AS.
Image Source: entnemdept