Malaria remains leading cause of death in Nigeria, says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Malaria Consultant, in the Northeast, Dr. Nglass Ini Abasi, has said that malaria remains the leading cause of poor health and death in Nigeria.Abasi disclosed this yesterday in WHO’s weekly report, released to journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

According to the report, 53 million cases of malaria are recorded annually in Nigeria, contributing 25 per cent of the global burden.It explained: “Furthermore, 81,640 deaths are recorded annually (nine deaths every hour), which accounts for 19 per cent of global malaria deaths (one in five global malaria deaths) and 45 per cent malaria deaths in West Africa.

“The 2014-2020 Nigeria Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP) is to reduce malaria burden to pre-elimination levels and bring malaria-related mortality to zero.”

According to Abasi, the global health agency is working assiduously with government to ensure the burden is reduced to the barest level.She stated that in Borno State, the Malaria Annual Operational Plan (MAOP) was developed and launched on August 8, this year with technical support from WHO and its partners.

“This strategic malaria plan was developed through broad-based stakeholders’ workshop involving malaria stakeholders, reviewed on different thematic areas and endorsed by Commissioner for Health and
Permanent Secretary, Borno State Ministry of Health.

“It will ensure that at least 50 per cent of the population practice appropriate malaria prevention and management by 2020, ensuring timely availability of appropriate anti-malarial medicines and commodities required for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria in Borno,” she said. 

She said the 2020 malaria plan takes into account the humanitarian response, noting, however, that “despite recent improvements, insecurity remains a challenge limiting access to the functional health facilities.”

While launching the plan, the State’s Malaria Programme Manager, Mala Waziri, said the operational plan was the first to be endorsed and disseminated in the state.

WHO has made us proud by supporting the first ever Malaria Operational Plan right from development, review, printing to dissemination,” he said.The ministerial secretary of the Health Ministry, Dr. Ibrahim Kida, also said: “It’s an historic event as stakeholders across the health sector made commitments to use the document as an implementation guide for all malaria programmes.”He added that the plan would serve as an advocacy tool for planning domestic funds mobilisation.

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