President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that the successful elimination of malaria in Nigeria was projected to save the nation about N2 trillion by year 2030.
Speaking yesterday, at the State House, Abuja, while inaugurating a 16-man Nigeria End Malaria Council (EMC) headed by the founder and President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Buhari stressed that the successful implementation of the Council’s agenda and savings from the estimated economic burden of malaria disease could save Nigeria about N687 billion in 2022 and N2 trillion by 2030.
The president emphasised that beyond improving the quality of life, health and well-being of Nigerians, the concerted strategy to tackle malaria had both public health as well as socio-economic benefits for Nigeria.
He said: ‘‘Our inauguration today will therefore ensure that malaria elimination remains a priority on our agenda, with strong political commitment from leaders at all levels.
‘‘Additionally, the End Malaria Council will provide a platform to advocate for more funding to protect and sustain progress made so far by our country, and put us on a pathway to ending malaria for good.”
Expressing concern that the age-long disease had remained a major public health challenge in Nigeria, Buhari cited the World Health Organisation (WHO) report of 2021, that showed that Nigeria alone accounted for 27 per cent of all cases of malaria and 32 per cent of deaths globally.
According to him: ‘‘Malaria infection can cause severe disease and complication in pregnant women and lead to high rates of miscarriage.
‘‘It is also responsible for a considerable proportion of deaths in infants and young children, with children under five years being the most vulnerable group affected. These are reasons we must not relent in fighting malaria.’’
On his choice of Dangote to chair the Council, Buhari explained that it was in recognition of the track record and passion of Africa’s richest man in supporting initiatives on various health issues such as polio and primary health care system strengthening.
He expressed confidence that Dangote would bring his outstanding achievements to help the country achieve its goal of malaria elimination, adding that a group of eminent personalities, who have also made their mark across all walks of life, have been selected to work in the Council.