By Asma’u Ahmad
The African Regional Office of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that malaria-related deaths in the region have dropped from 555,000 to 403,000 between year 2010 and 2017.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja during a press briefing to mark the 2019 “World Malaria Day.”
Represented by Dr Clement Peter, the WHO Nigeria Officer-in-Charge, Moeti said that the number of new cases in the region has also reduced from 206 million to 200 million within the seven years.
She however said the region still has the highest burden of the disease globally, even though some countries are making significant effort and showing feasible results in reducing the number of new cases and deaths.
Moeti urged the Federal Government and leaders of African countries to continue to accelerate progress, “as there are still gaps in implementing preventive measures to control the disease.”
She said there would be acceleration in the pace of progress to achieve a 40 per cent drop in global malaria cases and deaths by 2020 compared to 2015 levels.
Moeti said that half of the people who were at risk of malaria across sub-Saharan Africa are now sleeping under insecticide-treated nets in 2017 as compared to 30 per cent in 2010.
Moeti called for renewed political commitment among governments in the region, increased investments on malaria prevention and control, allocation of adequate resources, work across sectors and strengthening of cross-border collaboration.
She urged governments in the region to mobilise all necessary internal and external resources and ensure intersectional collaboration to eliminate malaria.
The theme for this year’s commemoration of world malaria day is “Zero Malaria Starts with me.” Moeti said the theme stresses the need to empower individuals across the world to make a personal commitment to saving more lives and helping communities and economies thrive by eliminating malaria.