A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that Nigeria has the highest number of malaria infections and deaths in the world.

The 2021 World Malaria Report showed that Nigeria accounted for 31.9 per cent of global malaria deaths in 2020, while maintaining the highest number of infections during the same period – at 27 per cent.

The report said: “Twenty-nine countries accounted for 96 per cent of malaria cases globally, and six countries – Nigeria (27 per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12 per cent), Uganda (five per cent), Mozambique (four per cent), Angola (3.4 per cent) and Burkina Faso (3.4 per cent) – accounted for about 55 per cent of all cases globally.

“Four African countries accounted for just over half of all malaria deaths worldwide: Nigeria (31.9 per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (13.2 per cent), United Republic of Tanzania (4.1 per cent) and Mozambique (3.8 per cent).”

The report, which was obtained by The Nation, also revealed that the WHO African Region, with an estimated 228 million cases in 2020, accounted for about 95 per cent of cases and 96 per cent of deaths.

Also, children under five years of age accounted for about 80 per cent of all malaria deaths in the region.

The global target is to reduce malaria case incidence and death rate by at least 90 per cent by the year 2030.

Speaking about the report, the Director General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, said: “This year’s World Malaria Report surveys the extent of damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic to the global malaria response, and outlines what is needed to get back on track and accelerate progress in the fight against one of our oldest and most deadly diseases.

“There were an estimated 14 million more malaria cases and 47,000 more deaths in 2020, compared to 2019, due to disruptions to services during the pandemic. However, things could have been far worse if not for the efforts of malaria endemic countries to maintain services.”