The World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, on Monday, said the malaria death rate in Nigeria has fallen by 55 per cent.
Moeti said this on Monday, at the launch of the 2022 Nigeria Malaria Report in Abuja.
Moeti also said Nigeria had made progress on HIV between 2015 and 2021, meeting two of the 95-95-95 goals, and tuberculosis intervention coverage is improving, with increasing case detection over the same period.
He said, “The African Region carries a high proportion of the global malaria burden, accounting for about 95 per cent of all malaria cases and 96 per cent of all malaria deaths in 2021.
“While Nigeria accounts for around 27 per cent of the global burden of malaria cases, the country has seen major progress. Malaria incidence has fallen by 26 per cent since 2000 – from 413 per 1000 to 302 per 1000 in 2021. Malaria deaths also fell by 55 per cent, from 2.1 per 1000 population to 0.9 per 1000 population.
“Drivers of this continuing disease burden include the size of Nigeria’s population, making scaling up intervention challenging; suboptimal surveillance systems, which pick up less than 40 per cent of the country’s malaria data; inadequate funding to ensure universal interventions across all states; and health-seeking behaviour, where people use the private sector, with limited regulation, preferentially.”
She, however, said addressing the prevention, elimination, and control of malaria and the burden from other diseases requires critical data and information gathering for evidence-based investment and decision-making.
She said the report provides critical information on the status of malaria in the country.
“Going forward, the Regional Office must support the generation of the data and evidence required to develop similar reports on other diseases and conditions.
“This will enable countries to monitor interventions at national and sub-national level, to tailor the use of funds by donors and government in the control of communicable and non-communicable diseases,” she added.
On his part, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, said, the government will work on improving health governance in the country.
Pate said the government will work with development partners and the private sector to pull resources to improve health outcomes.
He said the ministry intended to carry out the retraining of about 120,000 health workers and update their standards of practice.
“Whatever we do, if we don’t succeed in reducing the burden of disease, we shall be improving the survival of those who are affected by infection that can take their lives,” he said.