191m Nigerians Face Malaria Threat, Says NMEP

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Kuni Tyessi, Abuja

The National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) has disclosed that about 191 million Nigerians, representing 97 per cent of the total population, face malaria threat.

Also, cases in the African countries, which include the 10 nations, especially Nigeria and Burkina Faso, rose by 3.5 million in 2017, compared to the previous year, while new cases fell steadily until 2016. The number rose from 217 million to 219 million in 2017.

National Coordinator, NMEP, Mr. Audu Mohammed, who made this known at the 2018 NMEP fourth quarter media chat in Abuja recently, noted that for the fight against malaria to be won, federal, state and local governments need to increase its level of funding malaria related programmes.

Represented by Head of Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation (ACSM), Chukwu Okoronkwo, he lamented that malaria remains an important public health issue in Nigeria, as it accounts for 30 per cent of childhood mortality and 11 per cent of maternal mortality.

Quoting the World Malaria Report, he revealed that both the 2017 and 2018 showed that the world was off track to meet the 2020 milestone as reflected in the global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030, as global progress against malaria has stalled.

Mohammed added that the report indicated that around 70 per cent of all deaths in 2017 were concentrated in 10 African countries and India.

Mohammed urged governments at all levels to redouble efforts to make an appreciable impact in the malaria landscape, even as he called on the citizenry to maintain environmental sanitation in and around the places they live and work.

“We need the government to give more resources to malaria control activities in the country. This is not limited to the federal government, local or state government alone. The private sectors can also be a major contributor to this fight.

“Private sector does not need to give NMEP money, but just to do something within their environment. One critical area about domestic funding is the issue of subsidy of malaria commodity. Commodities in the private sector cannot be accessed because they are too expensive.

“These commodities are already subsidised at the government health facilities because donors are bringing them in at subsidised rates. That also has to happen for all health facilities, whether government or private,” he said.