The World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed Nigeria as one of 10 African countries with high record of malaria cases, in spite of declining cases across endemic countries.
The global health body noted that 3.5 million more malaria cases were reported in Nigeria and 10 other African countries in 2017, compared with the previous year.
WHO said in a statement released in Abuja, yesterday, that “despite marginal increase in recent years in the distribution and use of insecticide-treated bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa, indices for malaria remain unimpressive.
“In 2017, an estimated half of at-risk people in Africa did not sleep under a treated net. Also, fewer homes were protected by indoor residual spraying than before, and access to preventive therapies that protect pregnant women and children from malaria remains too low.”
WHO was, however, impressed that in 2017, no local transmission of malaria was reported in China and El Salvador where malaria had long been endemic, stressing that it was a proof on the efficacy of the intensive, country-led control efforts.
It further disclosed that it recently certified Paraguay was the first country in the Americas to be certified malaria free in 45 years. Three other countries, it added was Algeria, Argentina and Uzbekistan that requested official malaria-free certification from WHO.
Similarly, India, a country that represents four percent of global malaria burden recorded a 24 percent reduction in cases in 2017, compared to 2016. Also in Rwanda, 436 000 fewer cases were recorded in 2017 compared to 2016. Ethiopia and Pakistan both reported marked decreases of more than 240 000 in the same period.
WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, however asked countries with high malaria cases to prioritize action on malaria so they could save more lives of its citizens.
He suggested that they take advantage of newly launched country-led malaria response to scale up prevention and treatment, and increase investment, to protect vulnerable people from the deadly disease.