Despite acclaimed low burden of malaria in Lagos State, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has said that no fewer than 700,000 persons are diagnosed with the disease annually across Lagos.
He added that aside from 700,000 Lagosians that tested positive, the diseases account for 70 per cent of outpatient in public health facilities alone, a development he said was out of place.
The commissioner noted that with the staggering statistics, it has become imperative for relevant stakeholders and residents to stand up and take action against malaria.
Through a statement to commemorate 2021 World Malaria Day, Abayomi maintained that 657,154 patients with malaria were recorded in both private and public health facilities across the state in 2020.
He argued that it was important for stakeholders to roll up their sleeves and tackle the disease headlong by formulation action plans and emergency response that would help bring the statistics to the barest minimum.
“By taking actions, we would be curbing the spread of the disease. It is essential that we prevent malaria by sleeping inside Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs).
“This is particularly important for the vulnerable groups –pregnant women and children under 5 years old. Pregnant women are also encouraged to take Sulphadoxine Pyimethamine to prevent malaria in pregnancy from 2nd trimester.”
Furthermore, the commissioner said that the theme for this year’s World Malaria Day, ‘Zero Malaria – Draw the line against malaria’ was a testament to the need for collective responsibilities of stakeholders at all levels; including community actors in reducing the scourge of malaria.
He added that the distinction between malaria and COVID–19 is made only after proper diagnosis using appropriate test kits, saying Malaria has plagued humanity since ancient times and continues to haunt nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population.
“According to World Malaria Report 2020, there was an estimated 229 million cases of malaria globally in 2019 from 87 malaria-endemic countries with Sub-Saharan Africa contributing 215 million representing 94 per cent of global malaria cases. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 51 per cent of malaria cases globally with 27 per cent of prevalence cases in Nigeria.”
He added that there has been a marked reduction in the cases of malaria globally (between 2010 and 2019 with a decline from 71 to 57 cases per 1,000 populations at risk).
“Nigeria has recorded a decline in malaria cases (from 42 per cent in 2010 to 27 per cent in 2015 and 23 per cent in 2018). The National Malaria Indicator Survey conducted in 2015, Lagos State Malaria Indicator Survey conducted in 2017 and National Demographic and Health Survey revealed that the prevalence of malaria is low in Lagos State,” he added.