The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has disclosed that Nigeria needs over a trillion naira to effectively combat malaria in the country.
Ehanire noted that the country required more than N350 billion to fight the disease in 2021 alone.
The Minister disclosed this on Friday, April 23, at a press conference to commemorate the 2021 World Malarial in Abuja, with the theme “Zero Malaria”.
World Malaria Day, celebrated every April 25, is an internationally recognized day; highlighting the global efforts to control malaria and also celebrating the gains that have been made.
Since 2000, the world has made historic progress against malaria, saving millions of lives. However, half the world still lives at risk from this preventable and treatable disease; which costs a child’s life every two minutes.
“The implementation of the new strategic plan will cost N1.89 trillion; about N352 billion is required for the year 2021 programme implementation,” Ehanire added.
He noted, “The theme of this year’s commemoration is Zero Malaria – Draw the Line Against Malaria, and the slogan ‘Stand Up, Take Action’ which is to empower communities in various countries to take ownership of preventing malaria and providing proper care as well as treatment to those in need, are germane.”
According to him, the Federal Government does not have the adequate amount required to fight the disease this year.
The minister attributed this to the prevailing economic circumstances occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ehanire called on the private sector, various corporate organisations; as well as patriotic individuals to support the government to tackle malaria.
Ehanire added that the government was working to establish a Malaria Council that would help to drive domestic funding for the elimination of the disease.
The minister said “the commemoration of World Malaria Day provides the government with the opportunity to share the progress made; best practices; and also create awareness on the scourge of malaria. Malaria, a disease caused by a parasite spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes; kills more than 400,000 people a year, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa.
“As experts across the world step up efforts to combat the disease; a recent study shows that a malaria vaccine from the Oxford Institute is 77 per cent effective for the treatment of COVID-19.
“The study conducted by Oxford University and released on Friday indicated that clinical trials had been carried out on 450 children; between the ages of five and 17 months.
“If safety is assured, health authorities say that it will become the key weapon in eliminating the disease; which is responsible for half a million deaths a year, mostly in children,” he explained.