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“Why Malaria Is Still a Problem in Nigeria”

May 3, 2024 | Health | 0 comments

Despite significant investments in combating the endemic disease, malaria remains a pressing public health challenge in Nigeria, with an estimated 68 million cases and 194,000 deaths reported in 2021.

During a medical outreach event commemorating the 2024 World Malaria Day, organized by Westfield Development Initiative in collaboration with Diya Fatimilehin and Co and Itire-Ikate Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos, stakeholders shed light on the persisting obstacles hindering Nigeria’s victory in the fight against malaria while suggesting a path forward.

Omolola Lana, the executive director of Westfield Development Initiative, highlighted that malaria accounts for nearly 27 percent of the global malaria burden, with Nigeria contributing 26.6 percent of malaria cases and 31.3 percent of malaria-related deaths globally in 2021. Poverty emerges as a major factor fueling the malaria burden, as many Nigerians reside in environmentally precarious areas conducive to mosquito breeding. Lana stressed the importance of educating Nigerians on maintaining clean environments and proper water storage practices to mitigate mosquito breeding grounds.

Additionally, Lana noted that the low utilization of Long-lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) poses a significant challenge in malaria prevention. To address this, awareness campaigns emphasizing the importance of sleeping under LLINs have been implemented, resulting in reduced malaria cases in communities where adherence to LLIN usage has improved.

The COVID-19 pandemic diverted resources from malaria control efforts, emphasizing the need for renewed commitment from donors, philanthropists, and the government in combating malaria post-pandemic.

Regarding the medical outreach program, Lana reiterated Westfield Development Initiative’s mission to reduce malaria prevalence in Nigeria. The initiative distributed 500 LLINs to families in the Itire-Ikate community to enhance malaria prevention efforts.

Dr. Olufemi Oyekan, the medical officer of health for Itire-Ikate LCDA, highlighted the importance of screening and treating residents for malaria, high blood pressure, and blood sugar during the outreach event. He also emphasized the significance of using LLIN as a cost-effective measure to curb malaria prevalence in the community.

Residents of the Itire-Ikate community expressed appreciation for the initiative, recognizing the value of LLINs in preventing malaria incidents, particularly for those unable to afford malaria treatment.

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