By Yetunde Verissimo
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has revealed that over 90 per cent of the population in Nigeria is at risk of Malaria while children and pregnant women are seen to be more vulnerable to this disease.
The Minister who made this revelation on Tuesday at an event to mark the 2017 World Malaria Day, stressed that 3.4 billion people are at risk of the disease globally with 1.2 billion people at higher risk.
He also noted that about N300 billion ($797 million) is lost annually to malaria in form of treatment costs, prevention costs and loss of man-hours.
According to him; “In Nigeria, malaria is responsible for around 60% of the out-patient visits to health facilities, 30% of childhood death, 25% of death in children under one year and 11% of maternal deaths. Similarly, about 70% of pregnant women suffer from malaria, which contributes to maternal anemia, low birth weight, stillbirths, abortions and other pregnancy-related complications.
“Malaria is one of the principal reasons for poor school attendance in many settings because it accounts for 13 to 15 percent of medical reasons for absenteeism from school” he said.
While advising Pregnant women to get proper antenatal Care and complete their SP dose, he called on Nigerians to get products Promoting Personal Measures (PPM), such as insecticides, repellent coils, creams, products with insect killing or repelling properties, and insecticidal nets to help prevent and reduce mosquito bites.
In 2012, malaria was responsible for the death of approximately 482,000 under-five children even though an estimated 136 million Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) were distributed to endemic countries the same year. Thus, malaria is still a major public health concern particularly in sub-Saharan Africa especially in Nigeria.
April 25th of every year is set aside to sensitize the populace, assess government efforts at stemming the scourge of malaria and mobilize efforts against the disease and the 2017 edition has the theme “End Malaria for Good”.