A World Malaria Day story
The Lagos state branch of the Nigeria Medical Association calls on federal and state governments to be cautious and proactive in fighting malaria if the country is to reduce Nigeria’s high number of cases and deaths to have a clear impact on national and international targets.
In a statement by NMA, The organisation emphasized the need for Nigeria, especially Lagos state in playing its role in eliminating the disease, particularly in children under 5 years of age and pregnant women.
“We need more commitment from the government in the area of funding to maintain progress and continue scaling up coverage of effective malaria interventions.
“More resources are needed to develop and maintain effective surveillance programmes and to combat increasing mosquito resistance to insecticides and parasite resistance to antimalarial drugs. “Thus for this year’s World Malaria Day, it is a wakeup call for all and sundry to assist in making Lagos and Nigeria as a whole Malaria free.”
Referring to the WHO report, the NMA stated that countries that managed to beat malaria did so through a combination of drugs and sophisticated treatments, prevention of mosquito bites and eradication of infected mosquitoes.
They argue that the achievements of these countries should be an inspiring example for the broader global struggle to end malaria forever.
“One of the most cost-effective ways of preventing malaria is making our environment clean such as eliminating breeding grounds for mosquitoes, for example, ponds and stagnant waters.
“A clean environment does not abhor mosquito and as such reducing the prevalence of malaria and its attendant complications,” they stated.
“We hope that Lagosians will take this message home and implement Zero Malaria Begins with Me in their various communities thereby reducing the burden of malaria in our society.
Malaria infection in humans is a long-standing disease. Although treatable, this disease can cause very serious complications and even lead to death if not diagnosed early, properly and managed adequately.
The Plasmodium spp parasite causes malaria infection and is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is a well-known parasitic disease that is still a serious public health disease and is currently a global health priority in young children.
Malaria has become the leading cause of death of children under 5 years, taking the life of a child every two minutes.
According to a report by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Malaria, In 2018, the WHO-Africa region recorded the highest malaria cases in 2017 (200 million, or 92%), followed by WHO Southeast Asia with 5% of cases and from the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region with 2%. It is important to note that a significant percentage (80%) is brought from 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India. Five countries account for nearly half of all malaria cases in the world.
Nigeria accounts for the majority of the malaria burden and currently, the country bears the heaviest burden of malaria cases at around 25 per cent, followed by Mozambique by 5 per cent, India by 4 per cent, Uganda by 4 per cent, and by Congo by 1 per cent.
Several countries have successfully eliminated malaria for decades from different regions of the world and records now show countries recently certified as malaria-free, alongside future elimination targets.