World Malaria Day (WMD) is commemorated every year on the 25th of April. Every year on this day, WHO and partners unite around a common theme. The theme for this year’s commemoration is end malaria for good. This reflects the vision of a malaria free world set out in the Global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030. This was adopted in May 2015 by the World Health Assembly. The strategy aims to dramatically reduce the global malaria burden within the next 15 years.

According to WHO’s “World malaria report 2015”, there has been a major decline in global malaria cases and deaths since 2000. Progress was made possible through the massive expansion of effective tools to prevent and treat malaria, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets, diagnostic testing and anti-malarial medicines.

World Malaria Day offers an annual opportunity to highlight advances in malaria control and to commit to continued investment and action to accelerate progress against this deadly disease. The day was established in May 2007 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly to provide education and understanding of malaria.
Past themes include the following:

• World Malaria Day 2013-2014-2015 – “Invest in the future: defeat malaria”
• World Malaria Day 2012 – “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria”
• World Malaria Day 2011 – “Achieving Progress and Impact”
• World Malaria Day 2009-2010 – “Counting malaria out”
• World Malaria Day 2008 – “Malaria: a disease without borders”

Events marking World Malaria Day 2014 in Nigeria included a demonstration of anti-malarial bed nets, testing and distribution of anti-malarial drugs, seminars on progress in combating and controlling malaria, and the inclusion of African footballers in the campaign to combat malaria
On this day in 2016, a lot of Nigerians are campaigning either via social media or via events being hosted. Dr Jide Idris, the Honourable Commissioner for Health for Lagos State and others in an event hosted by The Health Zone will be discussing World Malaria Day are we winning the war? Other events in Nigeria include:

– A walk and public campaign in Calabar, Cross river
– A world malaria day talk in Edo state
– Clean up to End Malaria in Idi Araba Lagos.
– Achieving a malaria free Africa in Osun state
– Catalysing malaria to zero, CEO’s forum in Victoria Island Lagos etc.

Within the next four years, six nations in Africa – the region where malaria is most prominent – could be free of the disease, the World Health Organization said in a report published to mark World Malaria Day. These countries are Algeria, Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, South Africa and Swaziland.
WHO says malaria infection rates are falling thanks to the use of insecticide-treated bed-nets, regular bug spraying inside dwellings and rapid diagnostic testing, though these techniques are becoming less effective as time goes on. Significant challenges remain as nearly half of the world’s population are at risk of malaria.

Author: Ope Adedeji