Don’t neglect malaria, it kills more than COVID-19, health experts warn govt

The government and relevant authorities in Nigeria have been asked not to neglect but to pay a deserved attention to malaria prevention, treatment and eradication in the country.

A Professor & consultant Medical Parasitologist, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, Wellington Oyibo and the Chairman, St Racheal’s Pharmaceutical Company, Akinjide Adeosun, as well as the Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Dr Babatunde Ajayi gave the warning separately at the 3rd anniversary of St Racheal’s Pharmaceutical company and the launch of its new anti-malaria drug in Lagos, on Monday.

The Secretary to the Oyo State Government and wife of Mr Adeosun, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun and the Founder\CEO of HealthPlus, Mrs Bukky George, were in attendance among others at the event held in Lekki.

Speaking on a topic, “Malaria in the times of COVID-19: A forgotten Disease? Prof Oyibo said, though, malaria is a global public health challenge, Nigeria situation is caused for greater concern as the country has the highest burden of the disease and related deaths globally.

He said Nigeria recorded up to 60, 959,012 malaria cases in the last year of the COVID-19 crisis with 95,418 deaths whereas only 162,338 persons were infected by COVID-19 out of which 2,039 people died during the same period.

He said the creeping in of COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown of the economy last year brought about the scarcity of malaria commodities even though cheaper than that of COVID-19 which he said are expensive.

He said though the disease is everywhere around the country and more pronounced in the northern region and rural communities, it is preventable and treatable if the right approaches are taken.

He, therefore, asked not only the government but also the individuals, indigenous manufacturers of malaria commodities, the media, researchers and so forth to join hands together and bring the malaria scourge to the barest minimum and if possible totally eradicated in the country.

Speaking on “The Economic Burden of Malaria,” Dr Babatunde Ajayi, who is the Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Health, said the negative impacts of malaria on people and the economy as a whole is huge.

He said malaria would not only lower economic and social productivities particularly of infected persons and the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), it would also lead to many affordable deaths.

While commending St Racheal’s Pharma for contributing immensely to the health and medical needs of Nigerians and also the reduction in unemployment, he revealed that more people actually died from non-COVID-19 related complications during the general lockdown than from COVID-19 infections.

In his remark earlier, Chairman of St Racheal’s Pharmaceutical, Akinjide Adeosun, who said the company had come up with seven brands of commodities within three years of establishment, said it is unfortunate that lack of right leadership particularly in the political arena is causing Nigeria lots of economic havoc.

He said that government should at all levels invest adequately in the health and education of the citizenry, it would be easier for Nigeria to attain economic prosperity.

“That is why I am calling on government across levels to allocate a significant percentage of their annual budget to both the education and health sectors, especially at the basic education and primary health level,” he stressed.

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