Nigeria loses $2.4bn to malaria annually— FG, Dangote Foundation
Speaking at the launch of the Private Sector Engagement Strategy against Malaria, PSESM, in Lagos, The Federal Government and stakeholders in the fight against malaria have disclosed that malaria was costing the country over $2.4 million annually even as they disclosed that 97 percent of Nigerians were at risk of the disease, and the stakeholders called on organized private sector to join the movement towards ensuring that Nigeria attained its target of zero malaria by 2020.
According to them, no fewer than $5 is spent out-of-pocket per patient and malaria epidemics can potentially reduce GDP by 1 to 5 percent and could stunt the engine of economic development as well as inhibit the growth in the education and health sectors. Launching the PSESM document, the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole noted that government could not stamp out malaria in Nigeria alone. He explained that collaboration with the Organized Private Sector, OPS, became imperative as over 30 million insecticide treated nets were used in Nigeria yearly. According to him, over 80 per cent of the anti-malaria medicine in the country are imported, hence the need to look inward and get the medications manufactured locally. The minister who noted that malaria remains a big threat to public health said: “We have engaged in series of advocacy which have yielded results, but advocacy is not enough, many people would have been beaten before coming under the insecticide treated net. We need research and we realize we can’t do it alone that is why we are engaging the private sector. We need their discipline and efficiency and in the local production of the medicine because that can generate employment in the country.” Speaking, the Chairman of the Dangote Foundation, Mr. Aliko Dangote also lamented the scourge of malaria adding that it has direct costs to business and the economy. “It indirectly damages the economy through the deterioration of human capital, the loss in saving, investments and tax revenues.