According to Dr Olufemi Oroge, Programme Manager, Osun State Malaria Elimination Control, states and the Federal Government are still battling to ensure that malaria ceases to be a public health concern in Nigeria.
Oroge disclosed that, “Nigeria is the leading country in terms of cases, contributing 27 per cent of the global malaria cases and 31.3 per cent of global malaria deaths.
“The closest in terms of cases is Congo DR and this shows that it is a big concern for the nation and Osun State is also part of it and so it is a major concern for us.”
This brings to mind that Nigeria recently endorsed the malaria vaccine.
This development makes Nigeria the second country after Ghana to endorse the vaccine.
Osun has been making progress in this regard but not at the intended rate.
He said, “There has been steady improvement but definitely we are not meeting the target of the global strategy.
“The prevalence for Nigeria in 2018 was 23 per cent and at that time in Osun State, it was 27.7 per cent, so we were higher than the national average.
“However, in 2021, by the time the result of the 2021 Malaria indicator survey came, Nigeria marginally improved going from 23 per cent to 22 per cent.
“Osun State did a lot better, going from 27.7 per cent to 19.3 per cent. The average for Osun is better than the national average but it shows we still have a long way to go.”
According to Oroge, current interventions include the use of mosquito nets at the primary prevention level.
He, however, said testing for malaria is a major challenge in the country.
“The figures are showing us that the prevalence is on the decline, that fever is not malaria until it is proven to be malaria.
“Some innovations right now allow for self testing but are not yet approved by the WHO. The rapid test kits require basic training to handle.
“The best thing is for the person to go to a primary health centre to get tested.
“It is going to help a lot in managing malaria and saving lives,” Oroge said.