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Friday, December 8, 2023

Nigeria’s malaria death toll nearly a third of world’s 619,000 annual fatalities -Lawmaker

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2023 World Mosquito Day, the House of Representatives Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has canvassed the declaration of a state of emergency on malaria.

The chairman of the committee, Hon. Amobi Ogah, representing Isuiwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency of Abia State, described malaria as a deadly parasite with the potential to inflict woes on the citizenry.

He said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja during the commemoration of the 2023 commemoration of World Mosquito Day, marked on August 20 globally.

The theme for 2023 is ‘Fighting the World’s Deadliest Killer -the Mosquito’, while the aim is to raise awareness about the causes of malaria and how it can be prevented and the danger posed by mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases.

It is also meant to laying emphasis on the ongoing global efforts towards combating mosquitoes.

The lawmaker said considering the threat malaria poses to humanity, every effort must be geared towards eradicating one of the deadliest killer mosquitoes.

Ogah said, “The House Committee on HIV, AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Control is not unmindful of the challenges being faced by Nigerians in the fight against these ailments especially in the fight against the control of Malaria in the country which appear to defile solutions.

“The committee will work with relevant stakeholders in the fight against malaria in ensuring that monies budgeted for are used for the purpose for which they are made.

“According to the World Health Organization, Four African countries accounted for just over half of all malaria deaths worldwide: Nigeria top this list with 31.3%, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo with 12.6%, Tanzania (4.1%) and Niger (3.9%).

“I am aware that the WHO Global technical strategy for Malaria 2016–2030, which was updated in 2021, provides a technical framework for all malaria-endemic countries, including Nigeria. This document is expected to guide and support regional and country programmes on malaria control as they work towards control and elimination of malaria.

“The technical strategy includes reducing malaria case incidence by at least 90% by 2030; Reducing malaria mortality rates by at least 90% by 2030; eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries by 2030; and preventing a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.

The lawmaker further stated that the prevalence of fake malaria drugs will be looked into to avoid further deaths recorded.

Ogah said, “We will carry out our oversight functions to ascertain the role of primary health care in the Roll Back Malaria Programme.

“Nigeria is a country in need of protection from malaria. Its death toll from the disease makes up nearly a third of the world’s 619,000 malaria deaths a year.”

The lawmaker further said there is a need to work towards malaria eradication to concentrate more efforts on the vector, the mosquito, adding that the government must work tirelessly to achieve this.

He called on the Federal Government to give more attention to eradicating mosquitoes by engaging critical stakeholders in the health sector including non-governmental organisations, adding that the burden of malaria in the country is sequel to the less attention given to parasites.

Ogah further urged the government at all levels to do more in a bid to ensure that the dreaded mosquitos were taken out of the country, noting that all hands must be on deck to achieve this with the required attention.

He decries a situation where the government is not paying attention to the vector that directly interferes with its habitat and way of life, adding that it was imperative to turn attention to the eradication of mosquitoes.

Four African countries, he said, account for over half of all malaria-related deaths worldwide with Nigeria topping the list with 31.3 per cent.

Ogah said the 20th House of Reps will ensure adequate implementation of legislation geared towards the eradication of malaria in the country.

He also reiterated the committee’s resolve to tackle the prevalence of fake malaria medicines in the country, adding that the menace will be looked into to avoid further deaths recorded.

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