Concerns mount over rising malaria scourge in Nigeria country loses N132bn annually on malaria

Health experts and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have scored Nigeria’s progress on eliminating malaria low, in spite of interventions over the years running into billions of naira.

Health analysts say the disease despite costing Nigeria up to N132 billion annually, it is yet to receive the level of attention it deserves, as the government has refused to take responsibility amid huge infrastructural deficit.

Lynda Ozor, malaria programme manager, WHO says that Nigeria needs to focus more on prevention, breaking the cycle of transmission than treatment, and also to improve access to anti-malaria drugs, going forward. According to her, unlike other diseases in Nigeria, all Nigerians are at risk of malaria.

“Despite efforts, a lot still needs to be done, the burden in Nigeria is so huge”, she told Businessday.

Available statistics show that malaria accounts for more than 40 percent of all healthcare costs incurred by families, depleting more than 7 percent of a family’s monthly income.

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The Federal Government puts the financial loss due to malaria annually at an estimated N132 billion in the form of treatment costs, prevention, and the loss of man-hours.

In 2013, the Federal Government announced that it was spending N480 billion annually on the management and treatment of malaria in the country. In the same year, Nigeria spent $2.4 billion on malaria alone.

Available data show that Global fund has committed some $ 708 million to malaria fight in Nigeria since 2008, while PMI has contributed a total of $420 million since 2010.

Experts further worry that the burden of malaria is borne by citizens through out-of-pocket expenses. A report by The Lancet shows that $ 424 · 4 million was the total spending on malaria in Nigeria as of 2016. Of that sum, 37·8 percent was out- of- pocket expenses, why 19.2 percent was from the government and 42 · 4 percent from development funding.

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