Remarkable Progress: Nigeria’s Malaria Mortality Plummets by 55%, WHO Reports
The Regional Director for Africa at the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, announced a significant milestone on Monday, revealing that Nigeria has witnessed a remarkable 55% reduction in malaria-related mortality rates. Dr. Moeti made this announcement during the launch of the 2022 Nigeria Malaria Report, which took place in Abuja.
In addition to this remarkable progress in the fight against malaria, Dr. Moeti highlighted Nigeria’s advancements in combatting HIV and tuberculosis between 2015 and 2021. The country has successfully achieved two of the ambitious 95-95-95 goals for HIV control, and tuberculosis intervention coverage has shown improvement, with increased case detection rates over the same period.
Dr. Moeti emphasized the critical role of the African region in the global malaria battle, accounting for approximately 95% of all malaria cases and a staggering 96% of all malaria-related deaths in 2021. Within this context, Nigeria, representing around 27% of the world’s malaria burden, has made substantial strides. Malaria incidence has dropped by 26% since 2000, declining from 413 cases per 1000 people to 302 cases per 1000 people in 2021. Furthermore, malaria-related deaths have witnessed a remarkable reduction of 55%, decreasing from 2.1 deaths per 1000 population to 0.9 deaths per 1000 population.
Dr. Moeti elucidated the factors contributing to this ongoing challenge, including Nigeria’s substantial population size, which makes scaling up interventions a complex endeavor, suboptimal surveillance systems capturing less than 40% of the country’s malaria data, inadequate funding for universal interventions across all states, and prevailing health-seeking behavior, with a preference for the private sector due to limited regulation.
In addressing the pressing need for the prevention, elimination, and control of malaria, as well as the burden posed by other diseases, Dr. Moeti emphasized the necessity of gathering critical data and information to inform evidence-based investments and decision-making. She underscored that the report released provides vital insights into the current status of malaria within the country.
Looking ahead, Dr. Moeti stressed the importance of the Regional Office’s support in generating data and evidence required for developing similar reports on various diseases and conditions. This approach will enable countries to monitor interventions at both national and sub-national levels, tailoring the allocation of funds by donors and governments for the control of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
On a complementary note, Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, expressed the government’s commitment to enhancing health governance in the country. Prof. Pate highlighted the collaboration with development partners and the private sector to pool resources, ultimately leading to improved health outcomes. He further outlined plans for the retraining of approximately 120,000 health workers and the revision of their practice standards. In closing, he emphasized the crucial mission of reducing the burden of disease to enhance the survival prospects of those affected by life-threatening infections.