Over US$ 2 Billion Malarial Economic Burden on Africa

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The malaria disease which is believed to be the leading cause of death among young children and pregnant women, has forced Africa to lose about US$ 2 billion annually in direct and indirect cost, a report by a Senior Health officer at the National Malaria Control Program has disclosed.

The amount, which represents a significant 40% of public Health expenditure in Africa, has made the gap in prosperity between developing countries with malaria and without malaria become wider every single year.

In a seven page presentation he made last week in a one-day sensitisation programme at the National Malaria Control Program Office, Mr. Lamin Jarju, Senior Public Health Officer, said Economists believe that malaria is responsible for a “growth penalty” of up to 1.3% per year in some African countries with pressure on household income for cure and prevention.

Malaria, he went on, has significant measurable direct and indirect costs, and has recently been shown to be a major constraint to economic developing, saving an economic loss of US$12 billion in 2000.

According to Mr. Jarju, Malaria being Africa’s leading cause of death among young children and pregnant women has been a serious problem in over half of the world’s counties with 405 of its poorest population being at risk contracting the disease.

“An African child dies of malaria every thirty seconds because they lack access to health care, life-saving drugs and insecticides treated bed nets”, Mr. Jarju revealed, adding that malaria is understood to be both a disease of poverty and cause of poverty.

On issues regarding the global malaria burden, Mr. Jarju revealed that five hundred and fifty million people are at risk, out of which, he added, three hundred million clinical cases of malaria occur each year.

Meanwhile, a UNICEF state of the earth children’s report on strategies towards combating malaria has stated that “unless individuals and communities are equipped with appropriate knowledge, skills and tools both to minimize the risk of infection and optimally manage the illness, malaria will continue to exert an unbearable toll on the people of the poor world”. 

Author: By Baboucarr Senghore
Source: The Point