Statistics have shown that malaria costs the country over $2.4 million annually with 97 percent of Nigerians at risk of the disease.
It has also been disclosed that no fewer than $5 is spent out-of-pocket per patient and malaria epidemics can potentially reduce GDP by 1 to 5 percent and could stunt the engine of economic development as well as inhibit the growth in the education and health sectors.
Stakeholders at the launch of the Private Sector Engagement Strategy against Malaria, PSESM, in Lagos, have therefore called on organised private sector to join the movement towards ensuring that Nigeria attained its target of zero malaria by 2020.
Minister for Health, Prof Isaac Adewole in the same vein, noted that government could not stamp out the disease in Nigeria alone adding that it remains a big threat to public health.
He called for a collaboration with the Organised Private Sector, OPS, as over 30 million insecticide-treated nets were used in Nigeria yearly.
According to him, over 80 per cent of the anti-malaria medicine in the country are imported, hence the need to look inward and get the medications manufactured locally. He says Nigeria needs discipline and efficiency in the local production of the medicine because that can generate employment in the country.
Speaking, the Chairman of the Dangote Foundation, Mr. Aliko Dangote who is the National Malaria Ambassador also lamented the scourge of the disease adding that it has direct costs to business and the economy.
Dangote said it indirectly damages the economy through the deterioration of human capital, the loss in saving, investments and tax revenues.
Dangote said he was committed to using his conglomerate, the Dangote Group of companies, as an example of what companies in Nigeria should be doing, adding that henceforth, there would be malaria education for his staff at all the company’s business locations, distribution of prevention tools and supplies to the workers in the factories and in the fields.