Nigeria accounts for highest global malaria deaths in 2021 – WHO Report

Nigeria recorded the highest number of malaria deaths across the world in 2021, according to the latest Malaria Report, released by the World Health Organisation on Thursday.

According to the World Malaria Report 2022, Nigeria recorded 31 percent of the 619,000 deaths recorded globally, of this number, Africa recorded a total of 599 000 deaths within the period.

Nigeria and three other countries accounted for about 96 percent of the total malaria deaths; they include the Democratic Republic of the Congo (13 percent), Niger (4 percent) and the United Republic of Tanzania (4 percent).

The report, however, notes that malaria mortality declined from an estimated 625,000 deaths recorded in 2022. Between 2019 and 2021, there were 63 000 deaths that were due to disruptions to essential malaria services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the report showed.

In addition, the report disclosed that the total malaria cases reached 247 million in 2021, compared to 245 million in 2020 and 232 million in 2019. Between 2020 and 2021, case reductions were observed in 12 countries: Bhutan, Botswana, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nepal, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Suriname, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu (note that in South Africa, case detection rates in the community during the pandemic and overall case burden may be higher than reported).

It further revealed that Nigeria, and seven others countries to include Benin, Eritrea, Indonesia, Nigeria, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Uganda, and Vanuatu, distributed less than 60 percent of their Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), and seven countries -Botswana, Central African Republic, Chad, Haiti, India, Pakistan, and Sierra Leone, did not distribute any ITNs.

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However, the report noted that countries around the world with support from partners largely held the line against further setbacks to malaria prevention, testing, and treatment services in 2021.

“They have achieved this despite disruptions to malaria prevention, testing and treatment services owing to the COVI D-19 pandemic and the often-devastating impacts of the pandemic on health, social and economic systems.”

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