April 25 as the world marks another world maleria day

AS the world marks another World Malaria Day today, April 25 ,

malaria remains one of the  most deadly infectious diseases.

Malaria is still an acute public health problem, particularly in

sub-Saharan Africa and especially in Nigeria, no thanks to

substantial gaps in the coverage of core malaria control tools.

This year’s theme – “Ending Malaria For Good” – spotlights

prevention, the cornerstone of malaria control efforts.

According to The World Malaria Report 2016, a publication of the

World Health Organisation (WHO), there were 212 million

malaria cases worldwide in 2015, with 21 per cent incidence

reduction between 2010 and 2015, while global decrease in

mortality rates was 29 per cent.

The Report notes that in 2015, an estimated 43 per cent of the

population in sub-Saharan Africa was not protected by treated

nets or indoor spraying with insecticides, the primary methods

of malaria vector control, while 36 per cent of children with fever

were not taken to health facilities for care in these African countries.

While there has been progress and appreciable gains in malaria

control and prevention, the work is incomplete.

Millions still lack access to the essential tools they need to

prevent and treat the disease. In many instances, progress is

threatened by the rapid development and spread of mosquito

resistance to insecticides and anti-malarial drug resistance is

another major hindrance in the efforts to eliminate the disease.

Funding shortfalls and fragile health systems still undermine

overall progress, thereby jeopardising the attainment of global

targets. In many countries like Nigeria, health systems are

under-funded and mainly inaccessible to most of those at risk

of malaria attack.

Nigeria does not appear to be on the track of being among

countries working to control and eliminate malaria by year 2030,

as required under the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global

Technical Strategy for Malaria.

For Nigeria to be listed, there must be a commitment to report

fewer locally-acquired cases of malaria and progress towards

other global targets must be accelerated.

The nation must be seen to be on track to achieve the 2020

milestones of 40 per cent reduction in case incidence and

mortality. There must be greater investments in the

development of new vector control interventions, improved

diagnostics and more effective medicines.

At the general level, there must be better and more effective

malaria preventive, diagnostic and treatment measures in place

at the various layers of our health delivery system.

More funding is an urgent priority that must  be increased

substantially. The fight against malaria can be more effective

with robust funding, effective programming and the country’s

leadership political will.

We call on the Federal Government to drive the initiative towards

ensuring that progress in combating malaria is sustained and

accelerated.

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