Nigeria needs over a trillion naira to effectively combat malaria in the country, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said.
He explained that of the total sum, the country required more than N350 billion naira to fight the disease in 2021 alone.
Ehanire, the Minister of Health, disclosed this on Friday a news conference in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“The implementation of the new strategic plan will cost N1.89 trillion; about N352 billion is required for the year 2021 programme implementation,” he told reporters ahead of the World Malaria Day scheduled to hold on Sunday.
The minister added, “The theme of this year’s commemoration is Zero Malaria – Draw the Line Against Malaria, and the slogan ‘Stand Up, Take Action’ which is to empower communities in various countries to take ownership of preventing malaria and providing proper care and treatment to those in need, are germane.”
He acknowledged that the Federal Government does not have the adequate amount required to fight the disease this year.
Ehanire attributed this to the prevailing economic circumstances occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, just as in other countries.
He, therefore, called on the private sector, various corporate organisations, and patriotic individuals to support the government to tackle malaria.
The minister disclosed that the government was working to establish a Malaria Council that would help to drive domestic funding for the elimination of the disease.
According to him, the commemoration of World Malaria Day provides the government with the opportunity to share the progress made, best practices, and create awareness on the scourge of malaria.
Malaria, a disease caused by a parasite spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes, kills more than 400,000 people a year, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa.
As experts across the world step up efforts to combat the disease, a recent study shows that a malaria vaccine from the Oxford Institute is 77 per cent effective for the treatment of COVID-19.
The study conducted by Oxford University and released on Friday indicated that clinical trials had been carried out on 450 children between the ages of five to 17 months.
If safety is assured, health authorities say that it will become the key weapon in eliminating the disease, which is responsible for half a million deaths a year, mostly in children.