Officials involved with Nigeria's National Malaria Control Program met Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria, for the opening of a three-day conference that will focus on identifying current and future malaria control efforts in the country, The Tide reports.
Minister of Health Adenike Grange at the conference opening said that malaria is a leading cause of death among children in the country. Grange, who was represented by Minister of State for Health Gabriel Aduku, said that about 30% of deaths among children under age five and that 25% of deaths among infants are caused by malaria.
Grange added that 300,000 Nigerian children die annually from malaria and that about 50% of adults contract malaria at least once annually. Grange said that the disease is a primary cause of miscarriages, stillbirths and low-birthweight infants. In addition, 11% of deaths among pregnant women are caused by malaria, according to Grange.
Grange called on groups involved in malaria control efforts, such as the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, to "review the activities in order to fashion out the way forward for sustained RBM implementation." She also said that such groups should scale up efforts to reach targets outlined in the Millennium Development Goals -- which include reducing the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
"Ultimately, we need to achieve the status of a malaria-free country," Grange said, adding, "To this end, I urge [organizations] to work towards a malaria vaccine production and eradication of malaria in the country".
Grange reiterated the government's commitment to fighting malaria. She said that officials are working with aid partners to provide access to no-cost malaria drugs in all of Nigeria's 36 states and the federal capital territory.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation