Malaria on the rise in Nigeria, 12 other countries — WHO
Experts have warned that malaria is on the rise in Nigeria and 12 other countries after almost two decades of decline.
According to the World Health Organisation’s 2018 World Malaria Report, which was released on Monday, there was a global increase in cases of malaria, from 217 million in 2016 to 219 million in 2017, with Nigeria, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo reporting an extra half a million cases each.
Also, an extra 3.5 million people were diagnosed with malaria in Tanzania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda, and Niger.
The senior adviser for WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, Dr. Alistair Robb, said, “We’re no longer seeing a decrease in malaria as we were over the past few years and this is a concern.”
WHO’s region of the Americas also witnessed a rise in malaria cases, mostly due to increases in Brazil, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
The report also noted that an estimated 435,000 people died of malaria worldwide in 2017 out of which the African region accounts for 92 percent of all cases.
Some countries, however, had a significant decline in the number of reported cases, most notably India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Rwanda. India reported 3 million fewer cases and Rwanda 430,000 fewer cases in 2017, as captured in the report.
Rubb said the successes recorded in these four countries came down to political commitment, reaching marginalized populations and efficiently using resources, such as bed nets and drugs.
“In many parts of Africa, large numbers of people still do not have access to treatment of malaria. In the high-burden African countries, the people most in need are marginalized and vulnerable communities who are unable to access treatment and prevention resources leaving them prone to infection. In 2017, an estimated half of the people at risk of the disease in Africa did not sleep under a treated net,” Robb explained.