“Nigeria losses an estimated US$ 1.1 billion annually over malaria-related issues. We, therefore, align ourselves with WHO’s position that “Urgent action is therefore needed to stop the scourge of this disease and to get on track towards the global malaria goals of a 90% reduction in cases and deaths by 2030”, especially in Nigeria”

The world marked 2021 World Malaria Day on April 25, 2021. This year’s theme was Zero Malaria – Draw the Line Against Malaria, which was anchored on the premise that the fatalities of malaria across the globe are preventable and so it should not be accepted. According to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, the region recorded 380,000 deaths last year alone. Africa, he said, had 94 percent of 229 million malaria cases and 409,000 deaths in 2019. In Nigeria, the report is not a good one.

In terms of government policy measures and the death rate, there is so much work to be done. The situation became worse as a result of COVID-19 that swept global attention to the pandemic’s humanitarian and socio-economic disasters. Through aggressive efforts of government policy measures, Algeria and Cape Verde have been declared malaria-free in 2019. Botswana, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, Namibia, and South Africa have significantly reduced malaria incidence by 40 percent. Unfortunately, Nigeria has taken the back position in this rating.

Nigeria’s losses an estimated US$ 1.1 billion annually over malaria-related issues. We, therefore, align ourselves with WHO’s position that “Urgent action is therefore needed to stop the scourge of this disease and to get on track towards the global malaria goals of a 90% reduction in cases and deaths by 2030”, especially in Nigeria.

For instance, WHO defines malaria as a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Though the pandemic is preventable and curable, WHO estimates that 438,000 people died because of malaria in 2015, while the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) puts the global burden of the disease at 620,000 in 2017.

Regrettably, most victims of the malaria pandemic are children. According to data from WHO, 57% of malaria fatalities are children younger than 5 years old. The statistics further averred that malaria is one of the leading causes of child mortality as every twelfth child that died in 2017 died because of malaria thus requiring urgent action from relevant authorities.

Out of the estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 87 countries according to the 2017 report, the ‘African Region continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. The region was home to 92% of malaria cases and 93% of malaria deaths,’ the report further revealed.

 


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