Nigeria Accounts For 30% Of Global Malaria Burden – Minister

 

Nigeria’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, has expressed concern over the burden of malaria in Nigeria, even as he called for a review of the country’s strategies to combat the disease.

According to Mr Pate, 70 years after implementing programmes to eliminate malaria, Nigeria still bears 30 per cent of the global burden with an estimated 68 million cases and 190,000 deaths from the disease as of 2021.

The minister revealed this in a post on his official X account after meeting with the Malaria Alliance, RBM Malaria Partnership, and WHO Global Malaria Programme.

He said the meeting was to reassess efforts and mobilise technical and financial resources towards eliminating the scourge of malaria, as the country had yet to make significant progress despite decades of efforts to reduce the burden.

Mr Pate said the health ministry in collaboration with partners is considering initiatives “anchored on the Presidential Initiative to unlock health sector value chain, to eradicate malaria from the country.”

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Some of the initiatives include the development of domestic manufacturing of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs), generic pharmaceuticals, introduction of appropriate safe and cost-effective vaccines, and potentially mosquito-repellent products.

Mr Pate said there is a need to use newer evidence-based tools, quality data systems, and strengthen collaborations to develop modalities to suit what is obtainable in Nigeria and the African continent.

“The sector-wide route adopted is geared towards improving governance, coverage resources, aligned efforts and amplifying the impact of health outcomes which will lead to success in that regard,” he noted.

Mr Pate further noted that the initiatives also require strengthening the primary healthcare system for malaria testing and early treatment, especially for children, antenatal mothers, and others.

He said that President Bola Tinubu as the African Union Champion for Human Resources for Health and Community Health Delivery is supporting retraining 120,000 frontline health workers.

He added that the number of functional primary health centres in the country will also nearly double from 8,800 to over 17,000 over the next three years, as part of the Health Sector Renewal Investment Programme.

“There’s a tide in the affairs of every nation which seized as the crest leads to saving millions of lives and offers good returns on development investments,” he said.

“Nigeria’s health sector is at such a crucial moment now; and we have the requisite political will in our President, ample human health resources, a willing coalition of partners, and tools to ride this tide and we will,” he said.