Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the Regional Director for Africa at the World Health Organization (WHO), revealed on Monday that Nigeria has seen a significant 55% reduction in malaria-related deaths.
This announcement was made during the launch of the 2022 Nigeria Malaria Report held in Abuja.
Dr. Moeti also highlighted Nigeria’s progress in addressing HIV and tuberculosis. Between 2015 and 2021, Nigeria achieved two out of the three 95-95-95 goals for HIV control. Additionally, tuberculosis intervention coverage has improved, leading to an increased detection rate over the same period.
Dr. Moeti emphasized the substantial malaria burden in the African region, accounting for approximately 95% of all global malaria cases and 96% of malaria-related deaths in 2021.
Nigeria, with about 27% of the world’s malaria cases, has shown remarkable advancements. Malaria incidence has decreased by 26% since 2000, dropping from 413 cases per 1000 to 302 cases per 1000 in 2021.
Moreover, malaria deaths have decreased by 55%, going from 2.1 per 1000 population to 0.9 per 1000 population.
She identified several factors contributing to the ongoing disease burden, including Nigeria’s large population, challenges in scaling up interventions, suboptimal surveillance systems capturing less than 40% of malaria data, insufficient funding for comprehensive state-level interventions, and a preference for private healthcare with limited regulation among the population.
Dr. Moeti emphasized the importance of gathering critical data and information for evidence-based decision-making in tackling malaria and other diseases.
The 2022 Nigeria Malaria Report provides crucial insights into the country’s malaria status.
Furthermore, she called for the Regional Office’s support in generating data and evidence for similar reports on various diseases and conditions.
This approach would enable countries to monitor interventions at both national and sub-national levels, facilitating targeted allocation of resources from donors and governments to combat both communicable and non-communicable diseases.
In response, Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, affirmed the government’s commitment to enhancing health governance in Nigeria.
He pledged collaboration with development partners and the private sector to pool resources for improved health outcomes.
The ministry also plans to retrain approximately 120,000 health workers and update their practice standards as part of its efforts to reduce the disease burden and improve overall healthcare in the country.