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Malaria killed about 600,000 Nigerians, other Africans in 2021: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says governments must mobilise more resources and technical capacities to help strengthen preventive measures and improve coverage of malaria case management services. PeoplesGazette reports.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said this in Abuja during a news conference on World Malaria Day on Tuesday.

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Ms Moeti said that malaria had been a stubborn public health enemy. She called on African leaders to keep malaria high on their agendas as they allocated resources to health, revealing that in 2021 the disease killed 619,000 people, of whom approximately 96 percent lived in Africa.Information Guide Nigeria

According to her, it is six to 20 times more likely to spread in mosquito-prone environments than the Omicron variant of sars-cov-2.

The WHO director said the disease was once endemic across most of the world, sweeping through the Americas in the 1600s, and the UN health agency was doing a lot to assist countries in eliminating it.

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According to her, eight countries (Cabo Verde, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, Mauritania, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe)are on track to meet the 2025 Global Technical Strategy target to reduce malaria incidence.

“Fifteen countries achieved insufficient reduction while 20 have witnessed stagnation or increase in cases. Ten countries saw increases in malaria deaths. The pace of progress must be accelerated if we want to achieve the set targets for 2025 and 2030,” explained Ms Moeti. “We can now save millions of lives each year from sickness and death caused by malaria following novel progress toward the disease’s elimination.”NYSC Portal

The WHO official explained that the first malaria vaccine recommended by WHO to prevent malaria in children (also known as RTS,S) “is saving lives” in some countries.

“In those counties, almost 1.5 million children have received the vaccine through a WHO-coordinated pilot programme, there is a substantial decrease in hospitalisations for severe malaria and a drop in child deaths,’’ Ms Moeti added.

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She said the organisation was concerned that malaria deaths remained unacceptably high, and cases have increased since 2015 and that the WHO African region accounted, in 2021, for estimated 234 million malaria cases and 593,000 deaths.JAMB Result

She said with such a number, Africa has the heaviest burden of over 95 percent of cases and 96 percent of deaths globally.

“Nearly 30 percent of the population in most African countries cannot access essential health services, and most people face unacceptably high expenditures on health care,” Ms Moeti noted. “Significant inequities affect the most vulnerable, young children and women, whereas about 80 percent of malaria cases and deaths occur in children under five.

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Essien, Goodnews is a gruaduate of Communication Arts, University of Uyo, Uyo; Currently working at Infoguide Media as a news writer.

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