In commemoration of the 2019 World Malaria Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for renewed political commitment to eliminate the disease.
The International agency said increased investments in malaria prevention and control will go a long way in fighting the disease.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said governments should mobilise all necessary internal and external resources towards eliminating malaria.
World Malaria Day is marked every April 25 and this year’s theme is ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me.’
Malaria remains one of the world’s leading killer disease, claiming the life of one child every two minutes, according to the WHO.
Most of the deaths are in Africa, where over 250,000 children die from the disease every year.
According to WHO’s 2018 World Malaria report, no significant gains were made in reducing malaria cases in the period 2015 to 2017.
The estimated number of malaria deaths in 2017, at 435, 000, remained virtually unchanged over the previous year.
In a bid to reduce this menace, the world’s first malaria vaccine, RTS,S was launched in Malawi on Tuesday.
Mr Moeti noted that the pace of progress must be accelerated if the world is to achieve a 40 per cent drop in global malaria cases and deaths by 2020, compared to 2015 levels.
He stressed the need to empower individuals across the world to make a personal commitment to saving more lives, and help communities and economies to thrive by eliminating malaria.
He urged all member states to allocate adequate resources and to work across sectors and strengthen cross-border collaboration.
“With the required resources, strong coordination and dedicated partners, we can accelerate our actions to achieve a malaria-free Africa – transforming a common vision to end malaria for good into a shared reality for a healthier and more prosperous Africa,” he said.
U.S. committed to Nigeria
The United States government has also reaffirmed its commitment to help bring an end to malaria in Nigeria.
In a statement released ahead of the World Malaria Day, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, said the government will continue to extend its support to the global fight against malaria.
“This World Malaria Day, we are proud to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to continuing this global progress and ending malaria in Nigeria.
“And I extend our hand in partnership to all of those who will join us. Zero malaria starts with me, you, and everyone working together for a more prosperous and healthy future for all,” he said.