A new report on malaria released by the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that Nigeria accounted for 31.9 percent of global malaria deaths in 2020, and had emerged the country with highest number of malaria infections and deaths in the world.
The report also revealed that Africa with an estimated 228 million malaria cases in 2020, accounted for about 95 percent of cases and 96 percent of deaths, and also, children under the age of five years of age accounted for about 80 percent of all malaria deaths in the region.
It also confirmed that 29 countries accounted for 96 percent of malaria cases globally, while six countries, namely, Nigeria (27 percent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12 percent), Uganda (5 percent), Mozambique (4 percent), Angola (3.4 percent) and Burkina Faso (3.4per cent) – accounted for about 55 per cent of all cases globally.
Similarly, four African countries accounted for over half of all malaria deaths worldwide: Nigeria (31.9 percent); the Democratic Republic of the Congo (13.2 percent); United Republic of Tanzania (4.1 percent); and Mozambique (3.8 percent).
Director-General of tWHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, confirmed that the report surveyed the extent of damage done by COVID-19 pandemic to the global malaria response, and he outlined what was needed to get back on track and accelerate progress in the fight against malaria which has been confirmed as one of the world’s oldest and most deadly diseases.
He said: “There were an estimated 14 million more malaria cases and 47,000 more deaths in 2020 compared to 2019. This was, perhaps, due to disruptions to services during the pandemic. However, things could have worsened if not for the efforts of malaria endemic countries to maintain services.
“As a result, using better data and more accurate methodology suggests that the disease has claimed more young lives over the past two decades than previously reported, and the situation now is especially precarious. Without accelerated action, we are in danger of seeing an immediate resurgence of the disease, particularly in Africa.
“This year will also be remembered for WHO’s recommendation for broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine. If introduced widely and urgently, the vaccine would save tens of thousands of children’s lives every year. Even so, we continue to need new tools to put an end to malaria, and more investment in research and development.”