WHO: Nigeria Accounted for 31% of Global Malaria Deaths in 2021
* 191,890 lives claimed by the disease nationwide last year
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Nigeria accounted for 31 per cent of malaria deaths recorded globally in 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
WHO’s report came just as the federal government said that a health indicator survey report it carried out in 2021 showed a slow but steady decline in malaria prevalence at national level from 42 per cent in 2010 to 27 per cent in 2015, 23 per cent in 2018, and 22% in 2021.
WHO, in its World Malaria Report released last Thursday, said there were 247 million malaria cases and 619,000 deaths globally in 2021, adding that the figures show an increase of two million cases and a decrease of six million deaths compared to the start of the pandemic in 2019.
According to the report, Nigeria was among four countries that accounted for almost half of all malaria cases globally and among four countries that accounted for over half of malaria deaths.
WHO reports that: “About 96% of malaria deaths globally were in 29 countries. Four countries accounted for just over half of all malaria deaths globally in 2021: Nigeria (31%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (13%), Niger Republic (4%) and the United Republic of Tanzania (4%).
“Twenty-nine countries accounted for 96% of malaria cases globally, and four countries – Nigeria (27%), the Democratic Republic of Congo (12%), Uganda (5%) and Mozambique (4%) – accounted for almost half of all cases globally.”
Based on the figures, precisely 191,890 Nigerian lives was claimed by the disease nationwide last year.
WHO said despite the continued impact of COVID-19, malaria cases and deaths remained stable in 2021.
It said countries around the world largely held the line against further setbacks to malaria prevention, testing and treatment services in 2021 as opposed to 2020 when the COVID pandemic disrupted malaria services, leading to a marked increase in cases and deaths.
The statement reads: “In 2021, countries distributed 223 million Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT), a similar level reported before the pandemic.
“In 2021, Insecticide-Treated Nets (ITN) distributions were strong overall and at similar levels to pre-pandemic years: 171 million ITNs planned for distribution, 128 million (75%) were distributed.”
The Director-General of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said following a marked increase in malaria cases and deaths in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, affected countries redoubled their efforts and were able to mitigate the worst impacts of COVID-related disruptions.
Ghebreyesus adds: “We face many challenges, but there are many reasons for hope. By strengthening the response, understanding and mitigating the risks, building resilience and accelerating research, there is every reason to dream of a malaria-free future.”
Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire had said, while flagging off the dissemination of the results of the 2021 Nigeria Malaria Indicator survey (NMIS) report, that there was a decline in the national prevalence rate of malaria to 22 per cent from 23 per cent in 2018, and 42 per cent in 2010.
He said the 2021 NMIS report provided the country and partners the necessary baseline information with which the achievements of the current anti-malaria intervention effort would be benchmarked.
The document tagged, “The 2021 Malaria Indicator Survey Report, as well as the Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation (ACSM) Strategy and Implementation Guide,” was formally unveiled at the ceremony in Abuja.
He also said that ACSM strategy and implementation guide would provide direction on the implementation of ACSM activities to improve uptake of high-impact interventions that would lead us to achieving the goals and objectives of the malaria strategic plan.
Ehanire said the surveys showed a slow but steady decline in malaria prevalence at national level.
He said significant declines had also been observed at the zonal and state levels.
“The third round of MIS was implemented in 2021, the report of which we are launching today.
“The results of the 2021 NMIS showed a further decline in the national prevalence of malaria to 22 per cent from 23 per cent in 2018, and 42 per cent in 2010.
“While this may not appear significant at the national level, at the sub-national level, substantial gains have been observed in several states,” the minister said.