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WMD ’23: “Time to deliver zero malaria”

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By Mercy Kelani

3 billion people in 106 countries across the globe are at risk of malaria.

World Malaria Day (WMD) was declared by Members of the World Health Organization (WHO) during the 2007 World Health Assembly. It is an occasion that emphasizes the need for steady Investment and sustenance of political commitment for prevention and control of malaria. About 3 billion people in 106 countries across the world are at risk of malaria. In 2012, an estimation of 627,000 people died of malaria — majority were African children.

Establishment of World Malaria Day was to enable provision of Education and understanding of malaria and ensure passage of information concerning “year-long intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies, including community-based activities for malaria prevention and treatment in endemic areas.” This international day is considered one of the eleven official global health campaigns — World Health Day, World Immunization Week, World Blood Donor Day, World Tuberculosis Day, and others — currently recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2015, there was 212 million cases of malaria.

Africa Malaria Day was usually held on April 25, annually, before the declaration of World Health Day by WHO. Commemoration of Africa Malaria Day began in 2001, a year after signing of the Abuja Declaration at the African Summit on Malaria by 44 malaria-endemic countries. Commemoration of World Malaria Day permits prominent corporations like ExxonMobil, grass root organizations like Mosquitoes Suck Tour and multinational organizations like Malaria No More, across the globe to collaborate to create sensitization against malaria and call out for policy changes.

Each annual recognition of World Malaria Day has a specific theme. The theme for WMD 2022 was “Harness Innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives.” The theme for this year’s WMD is “Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement.” According to the recent World Malaria Report, the global estimation of malaria attained 429,000 deaths and 212 million recent cases in 2015. In sub-Saharan Africa, there have been a reduction in case incidence and death rates by 21 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

Nigerian federal ministry of health pledged to end malaria.

In Nigeria, World Malaria Day 2014 was commemorated with inclusion of a demonstration of anti-malaria bed nets, seminars on improvements of ways to combat and control malaria, testing and distribution of anti-malaria drugs and involvement of African footballers in the campaign to fight malaria. In 2016, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health pledged to completely eradicate malaria in the country. The US Ambassador to Nigeria, James F. Entwistle also assured continued support and stressed the possibility of eliminating malaria in Nigeria.

Malaria is an infamous health challenge in Nigeria — as one of the countries which bears the highest burden of this sickness. Nigeria accounts for 31.9 percent of the malaria mortality among the four African countries responsible for 50 percent of half of the malaria mortality in the whole world. The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, on August 16, 2022, inaugurated a 16-member council, recognized as the Nigeria Malaria Council. However, Zambia was the first African country to develop such a council for elimination of malaria.

80 percent of malaria deaths in African Region were children below age 5.

The WHO African Region continues to bear the heaviest burden of malaria. In 2021, it accounted for 95 percent of all malaria cases and 96 percent of all deaths. About 80 percent of these deaths in the African Region were mostly children below the age of 5. The WHO Global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030 aims at ensuring 90 percent reduction of global malaria case incidence and global malaria mortality rate by 2030. Achievement of these depends on the concerted action of the world and achievement of SDGs, Target 3.3.


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