THE recentempanelling by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), of the Nigeria End Malaria Council as part of Malaria eradication efforts are a welcome move to rejuvenate a flagging national health programme.

Malaria eradication efforts should gather momentum

Unlike previous initiatives however, this should not end with just an inauguration. It should make a lasting impact on the country’s health care delivery system. As Buhari noted, malaria would drain N2 trillion from the Nigerian economy by 2030if nothing drastic is done. Malaria eradication efforts, Malaria is taking a heavy toll on the country;therefore, the federal and state governments need to escalate measures to contain, and eventually eradicate the scourge. A 16-member group, the EMC is in line with the African Union Assembly Declaration mandating the establishment of EMCs continent-wide. It is expected to mobilise additional funding and help reduce malaria prevalence, costs, and deaths in eight years in Nigeria, thereby saving the country trillions of naira. The disease is endemic in Nigeria where it accounts for the highest number of malaria cases and deaths worldwide, according to the World Malaria Report.An estimated 76 percent of the population is at risk in high population areas, said USAID and the malaria burden will cost the country N687 billion this year, Buhari added. It kills adults and children alike. The World Health Organisation said insecurity, poor implementation of remedial measures and poverty are worsening the situation. Therefore, concrete, effective action must be taken now. Malariais caused by the parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, transmitted year-round through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito as the major vector. The incubation period between the mosquito bite and onset of malaria fever is two weeks. The disease affects the country’s economic productivity, resulting in monetary loss of approximately N132 billion annually in treatment costs, prevention, and other indirect costs, according to the Malaria Journal. It is a major public health problem in 97 countries and territories in the tropics and subtropics. Globally, about 214 million cases of malaria occur annually,putting 3.2 billion people at risk of infection.

Approximately 438,000 deaths were attributed to malaria in 2015, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where an estimated 90 per cent of all malaria deaths occur. Nigeria is not winning the war against malaria. It still suffers the highest malaria burden worldwide, with about 51 million cases and 217,000 deaths reported annually. Malaria eradication efforts, This is almost 30 per cent of the total malaria burden in Africa. Studies show that 97 per cent of the total population is at risk of infection. Mapping out effective remedies requires a full understanding of factors that contribute to its prevalence. The Borgen Project, an NGO, cites the tropical climate which is favourable to the reproduction and lifespan of the vectors.One report said the weather is responsible for 6.0 percent of cases in malaria-endemic countries. Other factors include overcrowded living conditions that aid transmission, poor sanitary conditions, and habits; 60 percent of Nigerians lack access to safe water and safe sanitary conditions.Lack of access to health care services by 83 percent of the population, adds Borgen,aggravates the situation.Under the UN Millennium Development Goals, the World Health Assembly set a target of reducing malaria cases and deaths by 75 per cent between 2005 and 2015. Hence, over the past decade, there has been greatly renewed interest in research and innovations in diagnostic methods, drugs and vaccines, and the development of control measures. But Nigeria has been slothful. Malaria, according to BioMed Central, an online journal,accounts for 60 per cent of out-patient visits to hospitals, 11 per cent of maternal mortality and 30 per cent of child mortality, especially among children less than five years old.

Source: This news is originally published by punchng

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