Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, yesterday, lamented the increasing malaria-related deaths, stating that nine persons die of the disease every hour in the country.
He made the disclosure when a delegation from the ministry and the Society for Family Health (SFH) paid a courtesy visit to Deputy Governor Noimot Salako-Oyedele to seek support of the state government for the ongoing anti-malaria fight in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Ehanire, who spoke through Timi Obot, the team lead for the advocacy, said one out of every four persons having malaria in the world lives in Nigeria.
He hinted that the Federal Government, in partnership with SHF, will be distributing over 3.7 million Long Lasting Insecticidal Treated Nets (LLINs) to households across the 20 council areas of the state.
Quoting the World Report 2010, the minister said the most populous black nation accounted for 27 per cent of malaria burden and 23 per cent of casualties globally.
Ehanire said: “In Nigeria, malaria kills nine to 10 persons every hour. The disease remains a major public health challenge. It constitutes a huge epidemiological burden and continues to cripple the economic development in the region.
“It is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Nigeria, with young children and pregnant women disproportionately affected. It accounts for 60 per cent of outpatient to health facilities, 30 per cent of childhood deaths, 11 per cent of maternal deaths. It is a major cause of school absenteeism and low productivity.
“At the state level (Ogun), malaria prevalence has increased from about 15 per cent in 2015 to 22 per cent in 2018.”
He added: “We want to work harder to ensure that we achieve a parasite prevalence of less than 10 per cent and reduce mortality attributable to malaria to 50 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2025, which is the target we have set out in the National Malaria Strategic Plan (2021-2025) and the anticipation that this could translate to.
“We need to remind ourselves that currently, Nigeria contributes 27 per cent (58,850,600) to malaria boarding and 23 per cent (88.320) to malaria depth globally (World Malaria Report 2010).
“Children under five years remain the most vulnerable and accounted for 67 per cent (272,000) of all malaria depth.”
Responding, the deputy governor pledged the state government’s support for successful distribution of the nets.