As the World Malaria Day 2018, with the theme “Ready to beat malaria” is celebrated globally today, the scourge of malaria in Nigeria is yet to be fully curbed.
Despite funds and concerted efforts geared towards the fight against the ailment, it is believed that Nigeria is yet to tackle 50 per cent of the problem posed by malaria, a disease t/hreatening 97 per cent of its population.
Every two minutes, a child dies of malaria and currently, Nigeria is the highest-burden country in the world, accounting for 27 per cent of global malaria cases.
Many sufferers die of the disease in Nigeria as a result of self-medication, poor awareness, living in unhealthy environment with no safety nets, poor planning and strategy by the government, resort to herbal, unprescribed and fake drugs.
Here are 10 interesting facts about this deadly disease according to UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.
1. Among all communicable diseases, malaria is the third largest killer of children between the ages of one month and five years, following pneumonia and diarrhoea.
2. Nearly 300,000 children under the age of five die of malaria died in 2016 equivalent to nearly 800 young lives lost each day.
3. Between 2000 and 2015, the mortality rate for malaria fell by 60 per cent and the number of malaria cases dropped by 37 per cent globally. During those 15 years, 6.2 million deaths were averted, including the deaths of 5.9 million children under five.
4. Progress on malaria is beginning to show signs of stagnation. In 2016, 91 countries reported a combined total of 216 million malaria cases – five million more than in 2015. Rwanda and Nigeria together saw an increase of over 1.5 million cases, while DRC recorded an additional 500,000 cases in 2015-2016.
5. An estimated 90 per cent of malaria deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 407,000 deaths in 2016.
6. Malaria preys upon the vulnerable: children under five years of age, the poorest and most marginalised, pregnant women and their unborn children. Malaria in pregnancy contributes significantly to deaths of mothers and young children, with an estimated tally of at least 10,000 women and 200,000 infants under one year old.
7. Four out of five malaria deaths occur in one of 15 countries: Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Mozambique, Ghana, Angola, Uganda, Mali, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, Niger, Guinea and Chad. More than one in three malaria deaths occur in two countries: Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. UNICEF has a country office in all of these countries.
8. Sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net (ITN) is the most common and most effective way to prevent malaria infection. In 2016, an estimated 54 per cent of people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa slept under an ITN compared to 30 per cent in 2010. However, the rate of increase in ITN coverage has slowed since 2014. Less than half of households in sub-Saharan Africa have enough nets for all occupants.
9. In the last ten years, UNICEF has procured and helped distribute nearly 268 million insecticide-treated bed nets in more than 30 countries worldwide.
10. Countries that have achieved at least three consecutive years with no local cases of malaria are eligible to apply for certification of malaria elimination. In the last decade, six countries have been certified as having eliminated malaria: Morocco (2010), Turkmenistan (2010), Armenia (2011), Maldives (2015), Sri Lanka (2016) and Kyrgyzstan (2016).
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