• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Nigeria loses $1.1bn yearly to mosquito bites

mosquito

As much as $1.1 billion is estimated as the worth of losses that accrue to Nigeria when people leave productive activities to focus on treating malaria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated in tweets marking ‘World Malaria Day’ 2020.

The disease, which accounts for 60 percent of all hospital visits in Nigeria, leaves the largest African economy the hardest hit in the world, struggling with elimination and reduction of deaths.

While rate of prevalence has declined by 15 percent over the last decade, 81, 460 Nigerians still die from preventable deaths while 53 million cases are recorded annually, based on the 2020 World Malaria Report.

This places Nigeria miles away from the global target of 90 percent reduction in cases and deaths by 2030, a feat the Federal Ministry of Health says will cost four times the total health budget for 2020, N1.89 trillion.

“Together, we need to move from the perception of malaria as a health problem, to understanding this disease as a threat to socio-economic development that requires a multisectoral response,” Walter Mulombo, WHO Nigeria country representative said.

The minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, admits the goal could be a difficult task if private sector bigwigs or international donors do not assist.

Already, Nigeria’s history of funding malaria interventions is largely footed by heavy-weight philanthropic organisations, from global fund to the United States Agency for International Development (USAI), World Bank and WHO, among others.

About 80 percent of Malaria funding came from Global Fund in 2016, according to 2018 World Malaria Report, indicating a wide gap in funding.

“Malaria affects household income and other associated costs. In a study among the poorest malaria households, evidence shows that household income, direct and indirect cost associated with malaria including lost work days due to illness or care for sick family members, reduced productivity and cost of healthcare accounted for 32 per cent of annual household income,” Ehanire said during webinar attended by BusinessDay.

Left behind

In 2018 when India and Mali saw case reductions of about 1.2 million and 800,000, Nigeria saw estimated increase of 2.4 million.

It also reported 17.8 million cases, the second highest among high burden countries after the Democratic Republic of Congo with 20.5 million cases in 2019.

Some countries have grounded the disease to zero level; others are making drastic reductions while Nigeria is sadly being left behind.

Algeria became the third country in Africa to be certified malaria-free in 2019, on the heels of free diagnosis and treatment, regardless of nationality or legal status.

China completely phased out disease 2017 while South Africa only has about 4, 463 cases to beat as of 2020.

The RTs is being implemented by ministries of health in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, to a large scale pilot programmed coordinated by WHO and funded by Gavi, the

In the first three years, more than 1.7 million doses of the malaria vaccine has been administered and are benefitting more than 650,000 children across the countries.

Interventions

Out of about 253 million ITNs delivered to malaria endemic countries in 2019, 46 per cent was received by Nigeria, according to WHO report.

Multiple interventions in Nigeria saw drove SMC-targeted states, from 114 to 395 local government authorities (LGAs), with actual planned implementation increasing from 114 to 305 LGAs.

According to WHO, substantial reductions in malaria prevalence including reduction in infection prevalence in children under 5 years to about 16 percent could be achieved through full implementation of the national malaria strategic plan (NMSP).

For the period 2020–2023, preliminary analysis by the NMEP of Nigeria shows that $2.75 billion is needed to achieve high coverage of interventions in targeted areas, and full availability of diagnosis and treatment in public health facilities.