An increase of five million in the number of reported cases of Malaria last year has been recorded with Nigeria accounting for a high amount of the cases, according to the World Health Organisation.
More than 445,000 persos were killed by Malaria in 2016 due to shortage of funds in the fight against the disease, WHO said.
“We can safely say that after an unprecedented period of success, we are no longer making progress,” WHO report said.
“What is paramount now is taking this year’s malaria report as a wake-up call to stimulate action.”
The report added that 90% of the reported cases last year were in the African region, accounting for 91% of all malaria deaths in the same year.
Nigeria accounted for more than 25% of the reported cases.
A major reason attributed to the high rate of malaria in Nigeria is the Boko Haram insurgency. The mass displacement of people has reportedly restricted access to healthcare with about two thirds of health facilities completely or partially destroyed.
WHO says 40% of the population affected has no access to the treatment. There is need to either make diagnosis and treatment free of charge, or subsidise it.
“Without creating access, we will struggle to bring the figures down. We need to be smarter at how we use prevention methods and how we target them in the right places.”
It added that some actions are being taken but it is important to note that the figures should reduce and if the issue can be tackle the issue in Nigeria, this will also have a positive effect on the global figures.”
Nigeria suffers from the world’s greatest malaria burden, with approximately 51 million cases and 207,000 deaths reported annually, amounting to approximately 30% of the total malaria burden in Africa, while 97% of the total population, approximately 173 million is at risk of massive infection.
Malaria accounts for 60% of outpatient visits to hospitals which always lead to 11% maternal mortality and 30% child mortality, especially among children less than 5 years. This devastating disease affects the country’s economic productivity, resulting in an estimated monetary loss of about ₦132 billion in treatment costs, prevention, and other indirect costs.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said Nigeria has progressed in the fight against malaria adding that the nation has drop to 27% from 42% of malaria prevalence.
He further advised Nigerians to imbibe the culture of using insecticide nests and keeping the surround clean and tidy.
Despite government’s measures to reduce the disease, the NGOs have also been called upon to engage in enlightenment programmes to help educate on the prevention of the epidemic.