Malaria: The High Prevalence In Nigeria

Despite being a preventable and treatable disease, malaria continues to have a devastating impact on the health and livelihood of people all around the world. A total of 241 million new malaria cases and 627 000 malaria-related deaths were estimated in 85 countries in 2020. More than two thirds of deaths were among children under the age of five living in Africa. Every year, World Malaria Day takes place on April 25 to highlight efforts being made to eradicate malaria and to encourage action to reduce suffering and deaths related to the disease. The theme of World Malaria Day 2022 is “Harness innovation to reduce malaria disease burden and save lives”. The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for new vector control approaches, diagnostics, antimalarial medicines, and other tools that will speed progress against malaria.

Malaria affects many countries around the world. The vast majority of malaria cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. One of the most affected countries is Nigeria, the most populous black country. This year’s World Malaria Day reminds us of the need to protect ourselves against mosquito bites by using insecticide treated mosquito nets, wearing clothes that cover most parts of the body, and use insect repellent on exposed skin.

Children under five years of age are the most vulnerable group that is affected by malaria. Statistics show that each year in Nigeria, an average of 300,000 children are killed by malaria. The disease is also responsible for 11 per cent of all maternal deaths. Creating awareness on the need to keep our environment clean can be very helpful. All stakeholders, including government, health practitioners, corporate organisations, and NGOs, can get involved in promoting awareness on malaria prevention and control. Another method that can help in malaria control is surveillance. This entails tracking the disease and programmatic responses and taking action based on the data received. Countries with a high burden of malaria such as Nigeria require effective surveillance at all points on the path to malaria elimination.


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Thus, stronger malaria surveillance systems are urgently needed to enable a timely and effective response to malaria in endemic regions, to prevent outbreaks and resurgences, to track progress, and to hold governments and the global malaria community accountable. Furthermore, 68 countries have reported mosquito resistance to at least one class of commonly used insecticides from 2010 to 2017. Among these countries, 57 reported resistance to two or more insecticide classes. There is therefore an urgent need for new and improved tools in the global response to malaria. The WHO also underscores the critical need for all countries with ongoing malaria transmission to develop and apply effective insecticide resistance management strategies.

Another serious issue undermining malaria control efforts is the issue of antimalarial drug resistance. The resistance to antimalarial medicines is a recurring problem. Protecting the efficacy of antimalarial medicines is critical to malaria control and elimination. Regular monitoring of drug efficacy is needed to inform treatment policies in malaria-endemic countries such as Nigeria. It also helps to ensure early detection of, and response to, drug resistance.

The government can support the prevention of malaria by ensuring that there is good environmental sanitation to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes that transmit malaria. It is also important to provide preventive tablets and mosquito nets to pregnant women, under-five children and their mothers, to prevent the disease. The government must ensure that testing kits are readily available at all health facilities, so that people can get tested before treatment to prevent resistance to the current drugs for treatment.