Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal Government has expressed fears that several gains earlier achieved in the fight against malaria scourge in Nigeria are gradually being eroded.
It predicted more catastrophic situation and possibly more deaths resulting from the increased malaria prevalence if there is no urgent financial and logistics intervention by local and international partners.
The government justified its fears with World Health Organisation (WHO) 2018 World Malaria Report, which confirmed a significant rise in estimated cases from 52.4 million in 2016 to 53.7 million in 2017, indicating an estimated three million additional cases.
National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed, told journalists, at a media chat in Abuja yesterday that the only way out is to increase mobilisation of funds to enhance campaign, access and coverage of intervention commodities.
Muhammed who spoke through Dr. Ayinde Olukayode, recalled that national malaria prevalence dropped from 42 percent to 27 percent between 2010 and 2015, but was worried that the achievement had gradually being eroded due to complacency.
He maintained that malaria remains life threatening parasitic disease that is transmitted through the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito, and efforts are on to improve on the anti-malaria drugs being used to respond to the disease.
The coordinator was hopeful that the situation could improve for better if stakeholders join the fight, through financial, expertise or logistics support.
In a presentation titled “Bridging the Resource Gap for Malaria Elimination”, the NMEP head of programme, Tim Obot, painted a gory picture of malaria situation in Nigeria.
“There are over 53 million cases of malaria in Nigeria annually which accounts for 25 percent of global malaria burden. It means that one in every four Nigerians has malaria.
There are 81, 640 deaths every year in Nigeria, approximately 9 deaths per hour. Nigeria, undoubtedly, accounts for 19 percent of global malaria deaths. It also means that one in five global deaths is recorded in Nigeria,” he disclosed.