A new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) says Nigeria accounted for more than half of all malaria cases worldwide with 25 percent, topping the list of 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India which carried almost 85 percent.
According to the WHO report, six African countries; Nigeria (25 percent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12 percent), Uganda (5 percent), and Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, and Niger (4 percent each) accounted for more than half of all malaria cases worldwide.
The World malaria report 2019 released on Wednesday by the WHO, said in 2018, an estimated 228 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide, compared with 251 million cases in 2010 and 231 million cases in 2017.
According to the report, the incidence rate of malaria declined globally between 2010 and 2018, from 71 to 57 cases per 1000 population at risk.
The prevalence of malaria was attributed to Plasmodium falciparum parasite in the WHO African Region, accounting for 99.7 per cent of estimated malaria cases in 2018, as well as in the WHO South-East Asia Region (50 percent), the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (71 percent) and the WHO Western Pacific Region (65 percent).
The reports revealed that in 2018, an estimated 405,000 deaths were recorded from malaria globally, while children aged less than 5 years accounted for 67 percent (272,000) of all malaria deaths worldwide.
“Nearly 85 percent of global malaria deaths in 2018 were concentrated in 20 countries in the WHO African Region and India; Nigeria accounted for almost 24 percent of all global malaria deaths, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11 percent), the United Republic of Tanzania (5 percent), and Angola, Mozambique and Niger (4 percent each).
“In 2018, about 11 million pregnancies in moderate and high transmission sub-Saharan African countries would have been exposed to malaria infection. In 2018, the prevalence of exposure to malaria infection in pregnancy was highest in the West African subregion and Central Africa (each with 35 percent), followed by East and Southern Africa (20 percent). About 39 percent of these were in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.”
The report also revealed that 11 countries with a high burden to high impact rate recorded about 155 million malaria cases in 2018.
“Of the 10 highest-burden countries in Africa, Ghana and Nigeria reported the highest absolute increases in cases of malaria in 2018 compared with 2017. The burden in 2018 was similar to that of 2017 in all other countries, apart from in Uganda and India, where there were reported reductions of 1.5 and 2.6 million malaria cases, respectively, in 2018 compared with 2017.”
However, the report reflected some gains, stating that malaria deaths reduced from about 400,000 in 2010 to about 260,000 in 2018, the largest reduction being in Nigeria, from almost 153,000 deaths in 2010 to about 95,000 deaths in 2018.