WHO Report:More people died of Malaria than Boko Haram in the Northeast

World Health Organisation has lamented that malaria has claimed more lives in the northeast than the dreaded Boko Haram.

The world apex health regulatory institution said the crisis in the region has made the fight against malaria and other diseases worse.

The report said: “WHO’s Early Warning, Alert and Response System (EWARS) week 30 report from 223 sites, (including 32 IDP camps) show that malaria was the leading cause of morbidity and mortality accounting for 35% of cases and 46% of reported deaths. 

“In addition, results from the Nigeria Humanitarian Response Strategy (NHRS 2019-2021) indicate 7.1million people are in dire need of healthcare and 6.2million are targeted for immediate attention.

Despite recent improvements, insecurity remains a challenge limiting access to the functional health facilities. 

“Easily preventable and treatable diseases such as malaria, acute respiratory infection and diarrheal diseases account for the greatest proportion of morbidity and mortality among the vulnerable population. 

“Furthermore, Malaria is endemic in North East Nigeria and the transmission is perennial with a marked seasonal peak from from July to November every year.”

The report said an analysis commissioned by the WHO Global Malaria Programme to guide the next steps in the response to the malaria interventions in the complex humanitarian emergency concluded that ‘malaria is the number one health risk that populations in the affected areas in NE Nigeria are confronting.’ 

The report quoted Dr Nglass Ini Abasi, WHO Malaria Consultant for the North East, as saying: “Malaria has not only been the number one cause of morbidity over the past 3years but one can predict with certainty that it is going to be the main cause of disease and death over the coming months unless something drastic is done. With the MAOP launched, WHO Nigeria will continue to work assiduously with Government to tackle the Malaria.”

Ini Abasi also said: “Malaria remains a leading cause of poor health in Nigeria. According to the 2018 WHO Malaria Report, 53million cases are recorded annually in Nigeria, roughly 1 in 4 persons is infected with malaria contributing 25% of the global burden.”

He said: “Furthermore, 81,640 deaths are recorded annually (9 deaths every hour), which accounts for 19% of global malaria deaths (1 in 5 global malaria deaths) and 45% malaria deaths in West Africa.  The Nigeria Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP) 2014-2020 has a goal to reduce malaria burden to pre-elimination levels and bring malaria-related mortality to zero and WHO is working assiduously with Government to ensure the burden is reduced reduced accordingly.”  

The report said: “Following recommendations from malaria interventions in Borno State Nigeria, the Malaria Annual Operational Plan (MAOP) was developed and launched on 08 August 2019 with technical support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners. Aligned to the National Malaria Strategic Plan (2014 -2020), MAOP was developed through a broad-based stakeholders workshop involving malaria stakeholders, reviewed on different thematic areas and endorsed by the Commissioner for Health and Permanent Secretary, Borno State Ministry of Health.”

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