Nigeria Can Achieve GDP Boost Of £35bn By Reducing Malaria -Report

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

New research has revealed that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria could rise by £35billion if the United Nations (UN) target to significantly reduce malaria by 90 percent between 2015 and 2030 is met.

According to the report, African economies could receive a GDP boost of nearly $127bn overall, equivalent to an average of nearly $16bn a year, if the UN target is met, with Kenya receiving a boost of over $9bn and Angola $8.5bn.

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The research, commissioned by Malaria No More UK, also shows that cutting malaria would lead to a boost in exports from around the world to malaria-endemic countries in Africa.

Malaria No More UK is calling for malaria-endemic and donor countries to increase their investments in the fight to end malaria to save millions of lives, unlock prosperity and bolster health security.

The research also showed reaching this goal could generate an additional $31bn in exports to some of the most affected malaria endemic countries in Africa; with an almost $4bn rise for G7 countries, almost $1.5bn for the US and more than $450m for the UK.

These figures provide yet further rationale for G7 countries in particular, as key supporters of interventions to drive down malaria, to continue to invest in the fight to end the disease.

Malaria currently claims the lives of over 600,000 people a year, and The World Health Organization estimates that malaria interventions have contributed to the prevention of 2.1bn cases and 11.7m deaths between 2000 to 2022.

Whilst children represent around three quarters of global malaria deaths, infections also impact the working age population and can constrain economic growth through employee absenteeism, diminished income, reduced income tax and additional healthcare costs.

Children suffering from malaria can also experience frequent absences from school, hindering their educational progress and eventual economic contribution, as well as creating a significant additional burden on healthcare services and for the parents caring for them.

The analysis comes ahead of the G7 Summit hosted in Italy on 13-15 June. During her country’s presidency, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has made a priority of working in partnership to stimulate economic growth in Africa, including investments in the continent’s health systems.

The G7 has helped establish global health initiatives such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which plays a vital role in increasing access to vaccines, and The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has long been critical to increasing access to tools and treatments to combat malaria.

Dr. Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive Officer of Malaria No More UK, said: “Investing more in the fight to end malaria can save millions of lives, grow African economies and boost trade. This can unlock new funds to bolster health spending and strengthen health security in African countries and globally, showing how malaria investment can rebalance economic power and deliver wide-ranging benefits.

“The rise in global trade with African countries also allows other nations to keep the disease at bay by sustaining malaria research and development funding and continuing to invest in life sciences more widely to tackle other infectious diseases.

“In a storm of global challenges, G7 and malaria-endemic countries can work hand in hand to drive greater investment in malaria, through Gavi and The Global Fund to save lives, unlock prosperity and strengthen health security.”

Despite being off track for the global malaria reduction target, the availability of new tools, like vaccines and ‘next generation’ bed nets, means the target can still be met if governments provide Gavi and The Global Fund with enough funding so that the tools can reach those that need them.

On his part, Dr. Michael Charles, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said: “Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease but it continues to needlessly cost lives and hold back endemic countries from making critical social and economic gains. We must prioritise our 2030 target of reducing malaria by 90% compared to 2015 levels to end this tragic cycle.

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