Malaria situation and response

Nigeria accounts for one quarter of all the malaria cases in Africa; there are more deaths due to malaria in Nigeria than in any other country in Africa. It also has one of the world's highest rates of all-cause mortality for children under five years of age: approximately one in six children die before their fifth birthday. Malaria is endemic throughout Nigeria with an estimated 97% of the population at risk. The Sahel regions and the high mountain area of the plateau experience slightly lower rates of transmission. Malaria currently accounts for nearly 110 million clinically diagnosed cases per year, 60% of outpatient visits, and 30% of hospitalizations. The report of Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2008 showed that malaria accounts for more than 20% of childhood mortality. It is also believed to contribute up to 11% of maternal mortality, 25% of infant mortality, and 30% of under-five mortality. In addition to the direct health impact of malaria, there are also severe social and economic burdens on communities and the country as a whole, with the disease contributing to a loss of about US$ 3 billion in the form of treatment costs, prevention, loss of work time, etc.

The National Malaria Control Programme's (NMCSP) strategic plan for 2009-2013 is based on the National Strategic Health Development Plan 2010-2015. The NMCSP addresses national health and development priorities including the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Goals and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and includes the following priorities: to reduce malaria-related mortality, to reduce malaria parasite prevalence in under-five children, to increase ownership and use of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), to introduce and scale-up indoor residual spraying (IRS) and larval source management (larviciding and environmental management), to increase the use of diagnostic tests for fever patients, to improve appropriate and timely treatment of malaria, and to increase coverage of intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) of malaria during pregnancy. The NMCSP lays out specific targets to be achieved by 2010 and sustained through 2013.

The plan has a goal of reducing malaria-related mortality in Nigeria by 50% by the end of 2013. This will be accomplished by reaching the following coverage targets by 2013:

  • At least 80% of households have two or more LLINs
  • At least 80% of pregnant women and children under five inside an LLIN
  • 20% of households nationwide are covered by IRS as a complementary strategy to LLINs, and where conducted, at least 85% of targeted structures are adequately sprayed
  • At least 80% of pregnant women receive two doses of IPTp
  • At least 80% of patients with fever attending a health facility receive an appropriate malaria diagnostic test, and those testing positive are effectively treated according to the national treatment guidelines

In 2010 after implementing the 2009 NMSP for a year, the country began scaling up its malaria control interventions in line with WHO recommendation for Scaling Up for Impact (SUFI). The country expanded its level of coverage with a paradigm shift from the vulnerable population to the entire population. The programme's efforts, however were compounded by significant challenges, such as inadequate level of resources and commodities to sustain the push for scale-up.

Nigeria has since sustained in its control interventions and has also maintained high coverage rates where they have already been achieved. The overall objectives for the coming years are to,:

  • sustain the scale up for impact (SUFI) through appropriate measures to promote behaviour change, as well as prevention and treatment of malaria;
  • sustain and consolidate these efforts in the context of a strengthened health system in order to create a basis for the future elimination of malaria in the country.

Key strategies to reach these targets and goals will include:

  • Mass LLIN distribution campaigns to all states.
  • Routine LLIN distribution through child welfare and antenatal clinics, community and school based distribution, maternal, newborn and child health week, and the commercial sector.
  • Progressive expansion of IRS interventions to protect 20% of households by 2013.
  • National roll-out of focused antenatal care with IPTp.
  • Expansion of rapid diagnostic testing to all public health facilities.
  • Capacity building for all health practitioners in public and private sectors on current diagnostic and treatment of malaria with RDTs and ACTs.
  • Improvement of the clinical diagnosis of malaria using the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) approach.
  • Improvement of home management of malaria through community programmes.
  • Extension of IEC and BCC activities.
  • Monitoring of drug resistance by strengthening existing sentinel sites.
  • Strengthening of routine surveillance for confirmed cases of malaria.
  • Establishment of vector surveillance and insecticides resistance management sentinel sites
  • Malaria vector surveillance

In the news

Enugu West in Nigeria battles malaria with 20,000 doses of additional medicines

14 January 2015, 5:21 pm

The Ikeoha Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, founded by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on Tuesday presented 20,000 doses of free anti-malaria drugs to the people of Enugu West Senatorial District in Nigeria.

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Over 65% of healthy pregnant women in Port Harcourt, have malaria in their placenta

8 January 2015, 8:14 pm

No less than 65 per cent of pregnant women in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, have malaria in their system even though they seem to be well, a situation portending danger both for them and their unborn babies, a study has found.

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Will data mining help fight malaria?

8 January 2015, 7:48 pm

Malaria is one of those funding issues that generally falls outside of the scope of’s areas of interest. Though Google has made grants in the past toward fighting the disease that kills around 400,000 children annually, those grants have been pretty sporadic.

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Malaria: The world cheers, Nigeria despairs

20 December 2014, 8:48 pm

According to the WHO, which released the 2014 World Malaria Report early this month, global coalition against the disease in the past 13 years has “halved the number of people dying from malaria.” This is cheering. But while this is good news for countries like Egypt and Morocco, the same cannot be said about Nigeria: deaths from the disease continue to torment many families.

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The savvy plan to combat malaria with mobile phones

19 December 2014, 12:16 pm

Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More, likes to say that malaria may one day be the first disease beaten by mobile phones.

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Malaria: Tales of poverty, ignorance, deaths

16 December 2014, 1:32 pm

Malaria has remained a major cause of deaths in Nigeria, worsened by the increasing instances of self-medication, complicated by ignorance and poverty.

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