Malaria: Still Nigeria’s most lethal disease
The approval of the R21/Matix-M Malaria Vaccine by the Federal Government in Nigeria to prevent malaria in children between five months and 36 months has brought the disease into focus. According to the World Malaria Report 2022, Nigeria is the country with the highest burden of malaria globally, with 31% of the 619,000 deaths recorded globally in 2022. The country is said to record about 100 million cases of malaria each year, with thousands of deaths annually.
Malaria still remains the leading cause of death in Nigeria, according to Dr Juliet Nebe of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, with young children and pregnant women the most affected. The WHO World Malaria Report 2021 shows that Nigeria accounted for 32% of global malaria deaths in 2020, with a 5.3% increase in case numbers and a 4.7% increase in deaths between 2017 and 2020. Malaria is preventable and treatable, yet the disease continues to claim thousands of lives in Nigeria each year. Resistance to antimalarial medications involves parasite mutation rate, overall parasite load, the strength of the drug selected, treatment compliance, and poor adherence to malaria treatment guidelines.