Malaria a major cause of morbidity, mortality in Nigeria – PECAN
The Pest Control Association of Nigeria, PECAN, Abuja chapter, has said Malaria constitutes a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. PECAN disclosed this against the background of the World Malaria Report 2021, which indicated that Nigeria had the highest number of global malaria cases. The West African country has 27 percent of global malaria cases, and the highest number of deaths- 32 percent of global malaria deaths, in 2020. In a statement to mark World Malaria Day, the Chairman of PECAN in Abuja, Terungwa Abari lamented that Nigeria accounted for 55.2 percent of Malaria cases in West Africa in 2020, but there has been a prevalent decline. According to Abari: "Today is another commemoration of the world malaria day, a day set aside as a common platform for countries to discuss issues on the dreaded scourge, appraise their efforts in malaria control and unify diverse initiatives in the changing global context. "Malaria remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. The World Malaria Report 2021 shows that Nigeria had the highest number of global malaria cases (27 % of global malaria cases) and the highest number of deaths (32 % of global malaria deaths) in 2020. "The country accounted for an estimated 55.2% of malaria cases in West Africa in 2020. Nonetheless, there has been a progressive decline in malaria prevalence in Nigeria. "From 42 per cent in 2010 to 27 per cent in 2015 and 23 per cent in 2018, with variations across the States." The PECAN Chairman noted that Malaria had caused developmental challenges, poverty, and deaths in Nigeria and Africa. He added: "This endemic disease has caused developmental challenges, poverty, and millions of deaths in Africa. "In the years past, governments and regional institutions in Africa have launched numerous programs on Malaria but the disease and other vector-borne diseases peculiar to sub-Saharan Africa still linger. "This could be because of the interventions not being multi-sectoral or lack of sustained and diligent implementation of critical components such as vector management. In most cases, approaches are focused more on activities to diagnose, control and treat malaria-like establishment of disease management centers and provision of Malaria drugs and Long-Lasting Insecticides Treated Net (LLITN), etc. leaving a key component like Pest and Vector control through source site management out of the focus." Aburi further highlighted how to ensure Zero Malaria through investment, innovation and implementation. He pointed out that Nigerians must pay serious attention to pest control through source site management, which includes "Sanitation and vector control more than anything else is the solution to malaria." "Recently, The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) granted registration approval for R21 Malaria Vaccine (Recombinant, Adjuvanted). "The vaccine is manufactured by Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. (SIIPL). The R21 Malaria vaccine is an Adjuvanted protein vaccine presented as a sterile solution. "A dose which is 0.5ml is composed of R21 Malaria antigen 5g and Matrix-M1 50g as an adjuvant filled in a vial as ready to use liquid formulation for intramuscular injection. "The vaccine is for prevention of clinical Malaria in children from five months to 36 months of age. "According to NAFDAC, the storage temperature of the vaccine is 2-8 C. As revolutionary as the vaccine appears, it is restricted to only infants which means, it might take a very long time before Herd-Immunity is achieved. "Moreso, distribution across the country can be challenging considering the sensitive storage requirements. So how do we achieve this goal of Delivering Zero Malaria through Investment, Innovation and Implementation? "To achieve it, there must be a paradigm shift, a change from the neglect of controlling the mosquito vector from the source. "To achieve this goal, we must give serious attention to Pest control through source site management. Source-site management which includes Sanitation and vector control more than anything else is the solution to Malaria. "Government must not continue to spend huge resources solely on drugs and nets to stem the tide of disease outbreaks, but a significant percentage of these resources should be channelled to pest control, which is the focal point of integrated vector management. "What needs to be done to end Malaria for good is prevention not treatment, pest control not drugs," he stated.