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By Emmanuel Daudu, Abuja

World Health Organization has said that 228 million malaria cases and over 600,000 malaria deaths occurred in 2020.

The statistics was given by WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo in commemoration of the World Malaria Day held at Barcelona Hotel, Abuja on 26 April 2022 during the Ministerial Press Briefing to commemorate 2022 World Malaria Day
WHEN: 26th April 2022.

According to him, “It is important at this point to stress that, Despite the overall progress made in the first 15 years of this century, global trends in malaria cases and mortality rates have been plateauing since 2015, particularly in the highest burden countries.

“The World Malaria Report of 2021 estimated that, 228 million malaria cases and over 600,000 malaria deaths occurred in 2020 within the WHO African Region and, this accounted for 95% of cases and deaths globally.

“The theme for this year’s World Malaria Day, “Advance Equity. Build Resilience. End Malaria” with a national slogan of “Every effort counts”, is another opportunity to focus national attention on malaria, and it’s devastating impact on families, communities and societal development.
This year, the World Health Organization is highlighting the critical role of innovation in the fight against malaria, “Harness innovation to reduce the global malaria disease burden and save lives.”
It aligns with WHO’s call to urgently scale up innovation and the deployment of new tools in the fight against malaria, while advocating for equitable access to malaria prevention and treatment, within the context of building health system resilience.
In recent times, there has been a growing political commitment at country, regional and international levels to tackle malaria, and has seen significant breakthroughs in malaria prevention and control, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Landmark recommendations on the use of the first vaccine against malaria – RTS,S – were released by WHO late last year.
This vaccine will be used to prevent malaria among children aged six months to five years, who live in moderate- to high-transmission settings.

“While this is a groundbreaking advancement in the development of new tools to fight this disease, with the potential to save millions of lives, supplies are currently limited. As such, it is important to ensure that the doses that are available are utilized for maximum impact, while ensuring continued availability of other preventive measures to those most at risk.

“The High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) approach of rethinking malaria provided the right impetus for the current malaria strategic plan. It provides clear direction towards using stratified and evidence-based information to drive impact
Through this effort, Seasonal malaria chemoprevention has been scaled up in 21 states while deploying other stratified approaches for maximum impact. We must however, not lose sight of potential effect of drug and insecticide resistance, as these can reverse the gains that had been made.
On this auspicious occasion, I call on government at all levels and communities to work closely with development partners to advance the country along the road to elimination, while contributing to the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals.
WHO remains committed to continuing partnership with FMoH/National Malaria Elimination Programme and all other Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partners through provision of technical support and guidance to implement the activities necessary to meet the National goals.
I believe that collaboratively, we can “Advance Equity. Build Resilience. End Malaria” and let us remember, “Every effort count,” he added.

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