The World Health Organisation has warned that the world was on the verge of a potential malaria crisis revealing that Nigeria contributed the largest malaria deaths in 2020 in the African region and globally. It also stated that the coronavirus pandemic-related disruptions caused tens of thousands more deaths.

The UN health agency found out that COVID-19 had reversed progress against the mosquito-borne disease, which was already reaching its plateau before the pandemic struck.

The WHO said, “There were an estimated 241 million cases worldwide in 2020; 14 million more than a year earlier and the once rapidly falling death toll swelled to 627,000 last year, jumping 69,000 from 2019.

“Approximately, two thirds of those additional deaths were linked to disruptions in the provision of malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment during the pandemic.”

According to the report, 96 per cent of malaria deaths were reported in 29 countries of the world.

“About 96 per cent of malaria deaths globally were in 29 countries. Six countries – Nigeria (27 per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12 per cent), Uganda (five per cent), Mozambique (four per cent), Angola (three per cent) and Burkina Faso (three per cent) – accounted for just over half of all malaria deaths globally in 2020,” it stated.

In the data provided, the WHO noted that while Africa had a total of 602,000 deaths out of the estimated 627,000, Nigeria accounted for 31.9 per cent of the malaria deaths on the planet, which was followed closely by the Democratic Republic of Congo with 13.2 per cent.

Also, on the global map published in the report, it was noted that Nigeria accounted for 26.8 per cent in the whole world.

Commenting on the report, the Head, Global Malaria Programme, WHO, Dr Pedro Alonso, said there was a potential malaria crisis.

He said, “I think we are on the verge of a potential malaria crisis. Not only are we not getting closer to elimination or eradication globally, the problem is becoming worse in a substantial number of parts of Africa.

“The African region reported a greater percentage increase in the number of malaria cases than any region of the world.”

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