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Malaria in Nigeria

Malaria is a significant public health crisis that affects Nigeria, one of the world’s most populous countries. With high fatality rates and endemic conditions, the country has been struggling to control the spread of this disease for many years. Malaria is known to be transmitted through mosquito bites, and several factors contribute to its prevalence in Nigeria, including weather conditions, overcrowded living conditions, poor sanitary conditions, and a lack of access to quality healthcare.

Weather conditions play a major role in the transmission of malaria in Nigeria. The country experiences a tropical climate with rainy and dry conditions, and reports suggest that changes in weather conditions were responsible for up to 6% of malaria cases in some low and middle-income countries in the year 2000. Weather influences the reproductive rate and life span of insect vectors that transmit diseases, and there is an established association between weather and the incidence of malaria in Nigeria. In particular, there is a reported increase in malaria transmission during humid months, which are prevalent between June and September each year. Malaria is especially common in the rural northern region of the country, where the weather conditions are particularly conducive to the spread of the disease.

Overcrowded living conditions are another key factor contributing to the prevalence of malaria in Nigeria. Housing deficits in the country have led to overcrowded living conditions, and this has made it easier for mosquitoes to spread the disease. The vector that transmits malaria spreads from an infected host through a mosquito bite, and overcrowded spaces serve as a conduit for disease outbreaks. Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide and other chemicals in crowded houses attract mosquitoes, and poorly ventilated dwellings allow mosquitoes to enter more easily than well-constructed housing with screened windows, thus increasing disease transmission.

Poor sanitary conditions also serve as breeding sites for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Nigerians lack access to clean water and safe sanitary facilities, and unhygienic living conditions hinder compliance with public health measures such as proper handwashing and waste disposal. Poor sanitary conditions continue to hinder efforts in eliminating the disease across Nigeria, making it more challenging for public health officials to control the spread of malaria.

Malaria in Nigeria
Malaria in Nigeria

Access to quality healthcare is a key factor in the fight against malaria, but unfortunately, many Nigerians lack access to basic healthcare services. Malaria accounts for 30% of infant mortality and 11% of mortality cases in Nigeria, respectively, and the country shouldered 31.9% of global malaria deaths in 2020, ranking as the most malaria-burdened nation in Africa. Prevention is crucial in controlling and eliminating malaria, but about 83 million Nigerians lack access to healthcare services, resulting in high morbidity rates for those who have poorer health outcomes.

Despite these challenges, significant progress has been made in the fight against malaria in Nigeria thanks to the concerted efforts of stakeholders. A collaboration between global partners and the Nigerian government in mitigating the effects of malaria accounts for the nation’s malaria progress. Initiatives from the Global Fund, Malaria Consortium, USAID, GAVI, and Roll-Back Malaria have been successful in improving global health outcomes by reducing malaria deaths by 60% and saving 7.6 million lives. An estimated 100 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets have undergone distribution between 2017 and 2020 to control malaria in Nigeria. Impressively, malaria prevalence declined to 23% in 2018 from 42% in 2010.

In 2021, the World Health Organization approved a vaccine as part of an effort towards eradicating malaria. Mosquirix vaccines are useful as part of malaria prevention strategies, but funding from the global health community is necessary for a broader rollout. Access to Mosquirix vaccines will be effective in the fight against the spread of malaria in Nigeria and globally.

The Nigerian government launched the Malaria Eradication Fund to strengthen the country’s public health system in response to the challenge of the disease in 2021. Expectations determine that these resources will aid efforts geared towards the elimination of the disease in the country so that Nigeria can be certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization in 2030.

In conclusion, malaria is a significant public health crisis affecting Nigeria and many other countries around the world. While several factors contribute to its prevalence in Nigeria, including weather conditions, overcrowded living conditions, poor sanitary conditions, and a lack of access to quality healthcare, significant progress has been made in the fight against malaria thanks to the concerted efforts of stakeholders. Through initiatives aimed at prevention, such as the distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and vaccination campaigns, and improvements in public health infrastructure, Nigeria is moving closer to its goal of eradicating malaria and reducing the burden of this life-threatening disease on its people.

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