The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, said eradicating malaria and its effects would save the country from the estimated economic burden of the disease totalling about N687bn in 2022 and N2trn by 2030.
Buhari made the projection at the State House, Abuja, shortly after inaugurating Nigeria End Malaria Council in line with the African Union Assembly Declaration for Establishment of EMCs continent-wide.
He also appointed the Chairman, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, as Chairman of the 16-member council; noting that the successful implementation of the council’s agenda would lead to saving N2trn in the next eight years.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘Nigeria will save N2trn from malaria elimination, Buhari declares, appoints Dangote Chairman of 16-member council to eradicate disease.’
The President noted that tackling malaria has both public health and socio-economic benefits for the country.
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 EMC 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 end malaria for good.”
Buhari, who lamented that Nigeria alone accounts for 27 per cent of all cases of malaria and 32 per cent of deaths globally (according to the World Health Organisation in 2021), said, “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 5 years being the most vulnerable group. These are reasons we must not relent in fighting malaria.”
The President further explained that he chose Dangote to chair the council in recognition of his track record and passion for supporting initiatives on various health issues such as polio and strengthening primary health care system.
In his acceptance speech, Dangote thanked the President and all members of the council for entrusting him with the enormous responsibility; pledging to work hard to achieve the mandate.