World Malaria Day: 59 Percent of Nigerians Diagnosed with Malaria Disease In The Last 3 Months
Abuja, Nigeria. April 27th, 2021 – World Malaria Day (WMD) is observed on April 25th every year to increase awareness about the malaria disease, put in place control measures and promote efforts to prevent the deadly disease. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 229 million cases of malaria in the world and 409,000 deaths occurring as a result of malaria disease. Indeed, this is worrisome and stands as a call-to-action for all stakeholders to find lasting solutions to the malaria scourge. The theme of World Malaria Day 2021 is “Reaching The Zero-Malaria Target”. This year, WHO and its partners marked the day by celebrating the achievements of countries that are approaching and achieving malaria elimination. They provide inspiration for all nations that are working to stamp out this deadly disease and improve the health and livelihoods of their populations.
In commemoration of the WMD 2021, NOIPolls conducted a new public opinion poll on Malaria disease, which revealed that almost 9 in 10 Nigerians (87 percent) believe malaria is prevalent in the country. This assertion cuts across gender, geographical location, and age-group. According to the 2019 World Malaria Report, Nigeria had the highest number of global malaria cases (25% of global malaria cases) in 2018 and accounted for the highest number of deaths (24% of global malaria deaths).
With regards to malaria burden in the country, the poll revealed that 59 percent of Nigerians have treated malaria within the last 3 months. To further corroborate this finding, the World Malaria Report revealed that cases of malaria in Nigeria had increased to 296 per 1000 population at risk in recent times. The report further showed that malaria is transmitted all over Nigeria with 76 percent of the population residing in high transmission areas and 24 percent residing in low transmission areas.
Also, respondents were asked what they do when they have symptoms of malaria and the findings showed that 57 percent go to hospitals for treatment; 16 percent go to pharmacies while 15 percent visit a chemist. Interestingly, 15 percent disclosed that they self-medicate; 9 percent mentioned that they buy malaria drugs while 6 percent take local herbs.
From these findings, it is imperative for the government to tackle the malaria disease swiftly with the support of donor agencies by investing the resources needed to combat the scourge. Malaria control in Nigeria will cease to be a mirage and become a reality with a little more strategic and prioritized effort. Therefore, concerted, and spirited effort in tackling the malaria scourge will support and align with the agenda of the 2021 World Malaria Day which is “Reaching The Zero-Malaria Target”.
World Malaria Day, which is observed every year on the 25th of April, is an internationally recognized day celebrated globally to highlight the efforts nations and stakeholders in controlling malaria and celebrate the gains that have been recorded in the fight against malaria. Through the concerted effort of stakeholders in the malaria fight, there have been historic progress against malaria, saving millions of lives. Despite that, there are still millions at risk from this preventable, treatable disease, claiming lives continuously.
The WMD 2021 has the theme “Reaching The Zero-Malaria Target” which seek to explore and connect malaria elimination and malaria high-burden settings. This year’s theme and celebration also seek to highlight the successes of countries in the malaria fight, to inspire a new group of countries that have the potential to eliminate the disease by 2025 and to demonstrate that zero malaria is within reach for all countries.
According to WHO statistics, there are estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwide and there are 409, 000 malaria deaths in 2019 alone. It has been observed that children under age 5 years are the most vulnerable and most affected by the malaria scourge. In 2019 alone they accounted for 67 percent of total malaria deaths worldwide.
It is heart-warming to note that there have been concerted and spirited efforts in the control of malaria in the sense that the total funding for malaria control and elimination has reached a whopping 3 billion USD in 2019 and contributions from endemic countries has reached 900 million USD. Despite this huge investment, malaria is still ravaging the world, especially in Africa. Against this backdrop, NOIPolls conducted a survey to gauge the opinion of Nigerians regarding malaria disease.
The first question sought the opinion of Nigerians regarding the prevalence of malaria disease in the country and the poll result revealed that 87 percent of the respondents stated it is prevalent, while 13 percent stated that it is not prevalent. Analysis across geo-political zones showed that the South East, North West and South-South (89 Percent each) mentioned malaria disease is prevalent.
With regards to illness, the respondents were asked if they or any member of their household has visited the hospital in the last 3 months. The poll finding indicated that 47 percent acknowledged that they visited a hospital due to illness. On the other hand, 53 percent answered negatively.
Of the 47 percent of respondents who went to hospital for treatment, 83 percent stated that they were diagnosed of Malaria, while 25 percent stated that they were diagnosed of Typhoid fever. Others include Ulcer (6 percent), Arthritis (3 percent), and Coronavirus (1 percent) amongst others. Interestingly, there are more males (84 percent) than females (83 percent) who were diagnosed of Malaria. Also, Age group 61+ (88 percent) have more respondents who stated that they were diagnosed of Malaria fever.
Similarly, of the 53 percent who had previously stated that they do not visit the hospital when ill, 45 percent of the respondents revealed that they have treated malaria withing the last 3 months. On the contrary, 55 percent of the respondents stated that they have not treated malaria within the last 3 months.
The chart below indicated that 59 percent of Nigerians nationwide have been treated of malaria within the last 3 months.
When asked about the symptoms of malaria, most of the respondents (76 percent) mentioned Fever with shivering, 72 percent stated loss of appetite and 52 percent mentioned headache. Other symptoms mentioned include body pain (34 percent), while respondents who mentioned fever with sweat and catarrh (8 percent each) amongst other malaria symptoms.
Subsequently, this question sought to know the kind of action taken when faced with symptoms of malaria. The poll revealed that 57 percent of the respondents disclosed that they go to the hospital when they have symptoms of malaria. The North-East zone (82 percent) and North-West zone (73 percent) had more Nigerians in this category. While 16 percent mentioned that they go to a pharmacy, 15 percent stated that they go to a chemist. Sadly, 9 percent of the Nigerians rely on self-medication when they have symptoms of malaria and this is peculiar to Nigerians residing in the North-Central (15 percent) and South-West (17 percent).
Respondents who stated that they buy drugs were further probed and the poll showed that 21 percent of respondents in this category buy Lonart to treat malaria. Also, while 16 percent buy Amatem, 11 percent purchase Alabukun to treat malaria by themselves. Other drugs include Ciprotab (8 percent), Syncol (8 percent), Paracetamol (7 percent) and Coartem (5 percent) amongst other drugs.
With regards to prevention, majority of the Nigerians (71 percent) claimed that they sleep inside a mosquito treated net. While 45 percent mentioned that the clean their household surroundings as a way of preventing malaria, 40 percent stated that they spray anti-mosquito insecticide regularly in their homes amongst other preventives measures.
Further, respondents were asked if they have an insecticide treated net and the poll result revealed that 71 percent of the Nigerians acknowledged that they have an insecticide treated net. The North-West zone had more Nigerians who made this assertion. However, 29 percent said they do not have an insecticide treated net in their homes and Nigerians from the South-South zone had the highest number of Nigerians who mentioned this.
Of the 71 percent who stated that they have insecticide treated net, it is heart-warming to know that 67 percent affirmed that they slept under it the night before this survey was conducted. On the contrary, 33 percent indicated that they did not sleep under it for reasons best known to them.
The poll results have shown that there is a high prevalence of malaria (87 percent) in the country as revealed by 87 percent of Nigerians nationwide. The poll also revealed that 59 percent disclosed that they have been diagnosed with malaria disease within the last 3 months. However, it is sad to note that 15 percent of the respondents self-medicate as they buy and consume malaria drugs with confirming if it is malaria.
From the fore going, it appears there is still a high burden of the disease in the country, and this calls for concerted effort from government and all stakeholders to combat this high burden. This is important because the higher the burden of the disease, the more the productivity of the country is affected thereby affecting the economy of the country. There is also the need to increase funding as there have been shortage of funding in the effort towards combating the disease. The more funding is secured the better the chances of totally eradicating the disease.
Finally, it is gratifying to note that 71 percent of Nigerians stated that they have a mosquito treated net. This is encouraging indeed and calling on government to expedite action in ensuring that everyone has the mosquito treated net which will ultimately reduce the burden of malaria infection in the country. The time to act is now as procrastination will only exacerbate the situation on ground.
The opinion poll was conducted in the week commencing April 12th, 2021. It involved telephone interviews of a proportionate nationwide sample of 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning male and female Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geo-political regions and 36 states and the FCT of the country. Interviews were conducted in 5 languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Pidgin English, and English. Although we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained were statistically precise – within a margin of error of plus or minus 4.65%; we recognize that the exclusive use of telephone polling has its limitation of excluding non-phone-owning Nigerians. Nonetheless, with the country’s tele density put over 100 percent by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), we consider our telephone polling approach appropriate. Also, given the rigorous scientific process of randomization and stratification applied, we can confidently stand by the validity of our methodology and approach. NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com.
This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published. NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken because of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions, or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.
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