Use Savings from Subsidy Removal to Provide Free Malaria Treatments, Drugs, House Tell FG

Use Savings from Subsidy Removal to Provide Free Malaria Treatments, Drugs, House Tell FG

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, use part of the savings from the removal of petrol subsidy provide free malaria treatments and drugs in all government hospitals in Nigeria.

It also urged the Ministry of Health to set up units in all government hospitals in Nigeria for the provision of free malaria treatments and drugs.

The resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance moved at plenary on Thursday by Hon. Amobi Ogah.

Presenting the motion, Ogah said malaria is a serious disease that spreads when you are bitten by a mosquito infected by the tiny parasites called plasmodia. 

He added that if it is not treated, malaria could cause severe health problems such as seizures, brain damage, trouble in breathing, organ failure and even death.

The lawmaker noted that malaria is common in the tropics and does not have “respect” for either race, tribe or class, because it infects everybody. 

Quoting the 2020 Health Essentials report, he said there were 241 million reported cases of malaria throughout the world, with 627,000 deaths, with the majority of the death (90%) in Africa with more than 80% involving children under the age of five years.

Ogah added that the most severe form of malaria, which may progress to a coma, is known as Celebral Malaria, stressing that this type represents about 15 per cent of deaths in children and nearly 20 per cent of adult death. 

He said according to malaria treatment (2023) statistics, about 45 per cent of the total population of Nigeria get infected by malaria on an annual basis. 

Ogah noted that an estimated 68 million cases and 194,000 deaths due to the disease were recorded in 2021, adding that Nigeria has the highest burden of malaria globally, accounting for nearly 27 per cent of the global malaria burden.

He said: “Malaria is a cause and a consequence of poverty because both are inter-related. Thus, creating a very dangerous scenario that is very critical. Because a predominantly sick population cannot have any strong economic power.

“It is disturbing to understand that the average cost of treating malaria in Nigeria today by self-medication is about N5,000.00 and upon consultation with a healthcare provider with a laboratory test may cost over N10,000.00. Many Nigerians cannot presently afford these. Consequently, they may resort to using local herbs or sub-standard drugs that may lead to complications or even death.”

Ogah expressed concern that the present national economic hardship where a single meal per day is hardly affordable by most average and lower-class citizens with the exorbitant cost of living due to the removal of oil subsidy, affordability of the purchase of malaria drugs becomes even more difficult thus, the need for the intervention of the government in the provision of free malaria treatements and drugs in all government hospitals.

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