After almost two decades of witnessing a decrease in the rate of malaria cases, experts have warned the disease is on the rise again in Nigeria and 12 other countries.
A World Health Organization’s report released recently showed a global increase in cases of malaria from 217 million in 2016 to 291 million cases in 2017. The report added Nigeria, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo each reported at least half a million extra cases.
The report also showed an extra 3.5 million people were diagnosed in Tanzania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cameron, Ghana, Uganda, and Niger.
Dr. Alistair Robb, the senior adviser for WHO Global Amlaria Programm said, “We’re no longer seeing a decrease in malaria as we were over the past few years and this is a concern.”
There was also an upsurge of malaria cases the America region of WHO as more cases were reported in Brazil, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
According to the report, about 43,000 people lost their lives to malaria worldwide in 2017 with African region accounting for 92% of the figure.
However, some countries had a notable decline in reported malaria cases. Among these countries are India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.
Robb said the successes recorded in these four countries came down to political commitment, reaching marginalized populations and efficiently using resources, such as bed nets and drugs.
“In many parts of Africa, large numbers of people still do not have access to treatment of malaria. In the high-burden African countries, the people most in need are marginalized and vulnerable communities who are unable to access treatment and prevention resources leaving them prone to infection. In 2017, an estimated half of the people at risk of the disease in Africa did not sleep under a treated net,” Robb explained.