Malaria Cases in Nigeria on the Decline, Still Account for 26% Global Deaths
•NMEP targets pre-elimination by 2020
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The recently released 2015 Malaria Indicator Survey has shown that Nigeria recorded tremendous decline in prevalence of malaria, down from 42 per cent to 27.3 per cent within the last two years.
The National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, at the ACTwatch National Dissemination Nigeria survey report, organised with the support of Population Services International ( PSI) and Society for Family Health (SFH).
To this end, Mohammed noted that Nigeria is on the right track to achieve malaria pre-elimination by 2020.
He said: “Nigeria has recorded a decline in malaria prevalence from 42 percent to 27 per cent according to the 2015 Malaria Indicator Survey. The uptake of two or more doses of SP for intermittent preventive treatment in pregnant women has also increased from 15 percent in 2013 to 37 percent in 2015.
“Although by these achievements, we are yet to reach the national target, I believe that the country is on the right track to achieve malaria pre-elimination by 2020.”
According to him, ACTwatch conducted four outlet surveys in Nigeria (2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015 ) providing evidence to monitor malaria diagnosis and treatment in both public and private sector of Nigeria.
In the private sector, he said, there is need to extend confirmatory testing to cover all population in line with the “Test before treatment “ policy as outlined in the National Malaria Policy in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance of “Test, Treat and Track.”
Mohammed also noted that “as a high malaria burden country, Nigeria has a high ACT( Artemisinin-based Combination Therap) demand and consumption which makes it imperative to monitor availability, accessibility to and use of ACTs in both private and public health sectors”.
In the same vein, the Managing Director, SFH, Mr. Bright Ekweremadu, said that Nigeria is estimated to account for 26 percent of the global malaria deaths and 29 percent of global malaria cases, according to the 2016 World Malaria Report.
“Herein lies the need to prioritise malaria prevention, prompt diagnosis and treatment in Nigeria. The use of ACT has been seen in Nigeria to reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with malaria and efforts have gone a long way to make the medication readily available ,” he said.
Ekweremadu however, warned that indiscriminate use of ACT holds the risk of the Malaria parasite developing immunity to the drugs.