The attention of the world has once again been drawn to Malaria, a disease caused by a parasite, after realising that 3.3 billion people globally in 106 countries are at risk of malaria, Wikipedia reveals.
This statistic comes as an awareness and reminder on the World Malaria Day, an international observance commemorated every year on 25 April, with a focus on global efforts to control malaria.
Moreso, the negative effects of the the parasite which spreads to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes has also brought to the fore.
Considering the damages malaria has caused in the past, the disease in 2012, caused an estimated 627,000 deaths, mostly among African children.
In Nigeria, the Federal Government has confirmed that an estimated 55 million cases of malaria and nearly 90,000 malaria deaths occur each year in the country, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said.
Dr Osagie who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mamman Mamuda revealed this at a press briefing to commemorate the World Malaria Day, themed ‘Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement,’ with the slogan ‘Act now.
Speaking further, he said despite efforts by the government and its partners to combat the effects of malaria in the country, the country still accounts for 27 per cent of global malaria cases and 32 per cent of global malaria deaths.
“It is estimated that approximately 55 million cases of malaria and nearly 90,000 malaria deaths occur each year in our country.
“Malaria also has an adverse effect on the economy of our nation as it is the major cause of absenteeism in schools, offices, businesses, markets and thereby reducing the income of families, including the hardship of out-of-pocket expenses borne by Nigerians yearly for diagnosis and treatment.
The out-of-pocket expenditure for malaria is estimated to be 70 per cent and Nigerians pay as much as N2,280 on each malaria.
“The economic burden of malaria in Nigeria was estimated at $1.6b (N687bn) in 2022 and may increase to about $2.8bn (N2tn) in 2030.
It is important to note that successful control of malaria will increase productivity, improve health, reduce school absenteeism, reduce poverty and facilitate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Consequently, we must continue to fight to achieve zero malaria by 2030, in line with the World Health Organisation’s global technical strategy,” he said.
The government, however, calls for investment to defeat malaria and step up innovative strategies and impactful interventions.