Over 13m Nigerians Battle Malaria Annually – Environmental Association

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Muhammadu Buhari
By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
 President, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN) in Katsina State, Malam Umar Aminu Imam, has said that 13,687,500 Nigerians are battling with malaria annually amounting to 25 per cent of world’s 54,750,000 malaria cases.

Aminu-Imam made the disclosure during the ‘International Environmental Health Day’ celebration organised by the association in collaboration with Muslim Community College of Health Science and Technology, Funtua, Katsina State, which held at the college.

This was contained in a statement issued  by the College Information and Communications Officer, Malam Muhammadu Mahi-Khalid, and made available to the newsmen in Zaria, Kaduna State.

The theme of the conference is “Improving Sanitation and Open Defecation Free Society’’.

According to the report released by World Health Organisation (WHO) in September 2018, there were 219 million cases of Malaria globally with over 435,000 deaths in 2017 alone.

“African continent accounts for 92 per cent of the total cases and 93 per cent of the total death.

“Five countries account for 50 per cent of the entire global cases; namely Nigeria with 25 per cent; Democratic Republic of Congo, 11 per cent;, Mozambique 5 per cent; India 4 per cent, and Uganda 4 per cent.

“Nigeria with less than 1 per cent of the world’s population accounts for 25 per cent or 54,750,000 cases and over 108,750 lives lost, 61 per cent of them or 66,337 are children below the ages of five years.

He said, environment plays key role in aggravating and exacerbating the disease burden and death in the society.

Aminu-Imam added that every year billions of Naira is being lost to drugs due to diseases and death from preventable diseases.

“The diseases that bedevil Nigeria as a nation like malaria, typhoid, poliomyelitis and diarrheal diseases among others are all exclusively environmentally related diseases,” he stressed.

Aminu-Imam said that the maternal deaths in the country were environmentally related because infections and cultural factors were among the leading causes of maternal and child mortality.

He said that most of the interventions currently being undertaken and sponsored by NGOs and the Governments were curative-based and chemotherapeutic in nature.

“It is the believe of this association that no matter how much money spent in procurement of drugs to combat malaria, no reasonable result would be recorded if the environmental factors are not targeted and addressed.

“All advanced countries were able to eradicate malaria not because of vaccination or drug utilisation but only by improving environmental sanitation of their respective countries.

“Thus the association decided to partner with the Muslim Community College of Health Technology and various MDAs to raise awareness of the community on the dangers of poor sanitation and the consequences of open defecation,’’ he noted.

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