Nigerians spend N2.04 trillion annually on malaria prevention and treatment – Experts

Nigerians spend N2.04 trillion annually on malaria prevention and treatment - Experts

Nigeria is still struggling to combat malaria despite various intervention programs that have been implemented. A recent estimate of the cost of malaria in Nigeria is N2.04 trillion per year, which is significantly less than the $1.1 billion estimated by the World Health Organisation.

However, this estimate only takes into account the cost of treatment and excludes out-of-pocket expenses for self-medication and preventative measures. The government spends approximately 55% of the recurrent health budget yearly on malaria prevention and control, which is about N319.451 billion of N580.82 billion allocated to the health sector in 2023.

Nigeria accounts for approximately 30% of the total malaria burden in Africa, with 51 million cases and 207,000 deaths recorded each year. Malaria accounts for 60% of outpatient visits to hospitals, and 97% of the population (approximately 173 million) is at risk of infection. Malaria affects the economy in terms of lost productivity, increased healthcare costs, and reduced tourism and foreign investment.

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The economic burden of malaria in Nigeria is estimated to be $1.1 billion per year by the WHO. The Nigerian government has secured credits from three multilateral banks (the World Bank, African Development Bank, and Islamic Development Bank) totaling $364 million to fund health sector interventions in 13 states of the federation for five years (2020–2024) for malaria.

The National Malaria Elimination Program has initiated the High Burden High Impact approach with technical support from the WHO and technical partners to address the malaria situation in Nigeria.

The current 2021–2025 National Malaria Strategic Plan aims to achieve a malaria-free Nigeria with a goal of reducing malaria morbidity to less than 10% parasite prevalence and mortality attributable to malaria to less than 50 deaths per 1,000 by 2025. The impact of malaria on the Nigerian economy results in an estimated monetary loss of approximately N132 billion in treatment costs, prevention, and other indirect costs.

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