The World Health Organisation, WHO, has revealed that Malaria remains the leading killer disease around the world with a total of 57.3 million people being infested annually with the mosquito-borne infectious disease.
A representative of the WHO Dr. Rex Mpazanje who spoke on Thursday in Abuja during a two-day conference on capacity building for health reporters organised by WHO in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
Mpazanje disclosed that over 7.3 million Nigerians were at risk of being infected with malaria.
He said that 23% of death all over the world is caused by malaria while 45% die in West Africa annually from the disease.
While lamenting that HIV has remained a major problem in Nigeria, Mpazanje added that the country has the highest record of transmission of mother to child in the world.
“Nigeria is second to south Africa to HIV burden in Africa. We need to do something so that our prevalence rate will come down. While Bayelsa state has the lowest Anti-Retroviral drug coverage of 7% Enugu has the highest of 90%.
“The WHO will continue to be at the forefront to support and give guidelines on how to control and prevent the spread of HIV, Tuberculosis and malaria in line with international guidelines.
” Our aim is to have 90% of those living with HIV know their status, 90% know their status on ART and 90% on ART to be virally suppressed by year 2020″.
On his part, Sisay Tegegne from WHO, also presented a paper titled ‘Protecting Children from Vaccine Preventable Diseases, VPD challenged stakeholders in the health sector to ensure they sustain immunization programs in order to eradicate both communicable and non-communicable diseases in Nigeria.
According to him, 1 out of 200 cases of polio lead to irreversible paralysis, out of which 5% to 10% die.
While stressing that over 200,000 new cases of polio have been reported globally in the last 10 years.
He added that as long as a single child remains infected, children all over the world were at risk of contracting the disease.
He said, ” In 2015 alone, over 4.3 million children were left un-immunised. Lagos is the only State out of the 36 states that has achieved 80% immunisation coverage, the remaining 35 states including Federal Capital Territory achieved only 33% coverage”, he said.
He added that it was imperative to differentiate between Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), from polio, because over 16,000 cases of AFP were reported as polio.
Also, Dr. Andrew Mbewe in his paper presentation titled,” Reducing Maternal/Mortality” identified High blood pressure, obstruction, Ante/post-Partum Hemorrhage as some of the common causes of death in pregnant women.
While stressing that all this can be preventable if the right facilities were put in place, he urged the Federal government to improve on its governance policies, plans and strategy in order to curb the menace to a barest minimum.
By Doosuur Iwambe