Although this is impressive, worldwide progress on malaria control during this same period resulted in infection rates dropping globally by 60 percent.
As we commemorate World Malaria Day on April 25, we celebrate this success. The United States, as the world’s leading donor in global health, remains strongly committed to working with Nigeria and all our partners to intensify the efforts to free people from the tremendous burden of malaria.
Despite Nigeria’s tremendous progress, we must remain committed to our fight against malaria. More than 430,000 people around the world still die each year from this preventable and treatable illness. Ninety percent of all malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. The vast majority are children under five, as malaria kills one of our children every two minutes. Malaria sickens hundreds of millions of people over and over again. More than half of all school absences in Africa are due to malaria. The disease costs the continent billions of dollars each year in health costs and lost productivity. In Nigeria, the National Malaria Elimination Program estimates malaria costs the Nigerian economy 132 billion naira ($660 million) annually.
I am proud that the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) continues to play a key role in the global fight against malaria. PMI, which supports 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, provides Nigerian communities and families with a mix of tools to fight malaria, including long-lasting, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor insecticide spraying campaigns, the latest drug therapies to treat infections, prevention treatment of malaria in pregnancy, and community education campaigns. Treated mosquito nets are a highly effective means of preventing infection and reducing malaria transmission.
In Nigeria, PMI works with national partners such as the Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Elimination Program. PMI also works with international partners such as the UK Department for International Development, the World Health Organization, and the Global Fund to reach and maintain universal coverage with long-lasting, insecticide-treated nets for all individuals living in malaria endemic areas. This year alone, PMI will provide 8.7 million nets to families in Nigeria.