Today is World Malaria Day,
Malaria is a major global health problem with the greatest burden in sub-Saharan Africa. According to World Health Organisations (WHO) Nigeria is yet to be listed among African countries who have made significant progress in eliminating malaria.
WHO Regional Director of Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti, stated in her message to commemorate the “World Malaria Day 2018” in Abuja on Wednesday, said 14 countries with the world’s biggest malaria problem were in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Moeti said these countries still accounted for 80 per cent of the global burden of malaria with 194 million new cases and 410,000 deaths recorded in 2016 alone. She however said some countries in the region have witnessed a decrease in malaria cases and deaths showing significant potential to eliminate malaria by 2020.
According to Moeti, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Senegal, Gambia and Zimbabwe are among 16 countries globally that witnessed a decrease in malaria cases and deaths by more than 20 per cent between 2015 and 2016. She said that Algeria, Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, South Africa and Swaziland could potentially eliminate malaria by 2020.
The WHO regional director expressed concern over the slow pace of progress in some African countries with significant gaps in the implementation measures to eliminate the disease. Moeti said international and domestic funding for malaria prevention and control has also stagnated in the region.
She said that the world malaria day was an occasion to renew political commitment and continue investing in malaria prevention and control. The regional director said the day also focuses global attention on malaria and its devastating impact on families, communities and development.
Moeti also called on countries still affected by malaria to work with development partners to boost investments in malaria prevention and control, especially in new tools to combat the scourge.