According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) via a tweets marking ‘World Malaria Day’ 2020, as much as $1.1 billion is estimated as the worth of losses that accrue to Nigeria when people leave productive activities to focus on treating malaria.
The disease accounts for 60 percent of all hospital visits in Nigeria and leaves the largest African economy the hardest hit in the world, struggling with elimination and reduction of deaths.
Though, the rate of prevalence has declined by 15 percent over the last decade, 81, 460 Nigerians still die from preventable deaths while 53 million cases are recorded annually, based on the 2020 World Malaria Report.
This places Nigeria miles away from the global target of 90 percent reduction in cases and deaths by 2030, a feat the Federal Ministry of Health says will cost four times the total health budget for 2020, N1.89 trillion.
“Together, we need to move from the perception of malaria as a health problem, to understanding this disease as a threat to socio-economic development that requires a multisectoral response,” Walter Mulombo, WHO Nigeria country representative said.
The minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, admits the goal could be a difficult task if private sector bigwigs or international donors do not assist.
“Malaria affects household income and other associated costs. In a study among the poorest malaria households, evidence shows that household income, direct and indirect cost associated with malaria including lost work days due to illness or care for sick family members, reduced productivity and cost of healthcare accounted for 32 per cent of annual household income,” Ehanire said.