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World Malaria Day: Nigeria loses 150,000 lives, N1.1 trillion yearly, says WHO


World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan, AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

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Today is World Malaria Day (WMD). The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday declared that despite the substantial gains in malaria responses, the disease has remained a major public health threat.

The WHO at an event in Nairobi, Kenya, said the global tally of malaria reached 429,000 deaths and 212 million new cases in 2015, with one child dying from malaria every two minutes.

The WHO in a report released yesterday titled “Malaria prevention works: Let’s close the gap” showed critical gaps in prevention coverage, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the WHO, more than 663 million cases have been averted in sub-Saharan Africa since 2001.

The Director-General of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, called for accelerated scale-up of efforts to prevent malaria and save lives.

She said: “WHO-recommended tools have made a measurable difference in the global malaria fight. But we need a much bigger push for prevention, especially in Africa, which bears the greatest burden of malaria.”

Also, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) yesterday, said Nigeria accounts for one-quarter of all infant-related deaths and one-third of deaths in children under-five years of age globally.

The PFN President, Ahmed Yakasai, said Nigeria also accounts for one third of global malaria deaths at close to 150, 000. He, however, said there were improvements on these data in 2016.

Citing the report by the Society for Family Health (SHF), Yakasai said over $3 dollars (about N1.1 trillion) is lost to malaria yearly in Nigeria due to out of pocket treatment and prevention cost.

To achieve malaria elimination in Nigeria, the Executive Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Dr. Obi Adigwe, said government would need to prioritise healthcare and procure made-in-Nigeria medicines and commodities to curtail it.

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