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“Nigeria loses N75.5 billion on malaria treatment”- Professor Chike Ogbonna



Malaria vaccine

In a recent interview, Professor Chike Ogbonna, a leading figure in Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering at the University of Jos, revealed the staggering cost of malaria treatment in Nigeria.

According to Ogbonna, the government spends N75.5 billion for each cycle of malaria treatment.

This revelation comes amid a call for increased efforts to promote the local production of Artemisia Annua, a plant rich in artemisinin, a crucial component in malaria treatment.

Artemisia Annua can be cultivated and processed locally, potentially reducing the country’s dependence on imports for medicinal purposes.

Nigeria carries a significant burden of malaria, accounting for approximately 40% of malaria cases worldwide.

Ogbonna emphasized the urgent need for commitment from both the government and relevant stakeholders to address this major health threat.

He highlighted the financial interests of pharmaceutical companies in the ongoing battle against malaria, claiming that some companies prioritize profits over eradicating the disease.

The professor called on the government and stakeholders to collaborate in the fight against malaria, emphasizing the affordability of malaria drugs for all Nigerians as a crucial step.

Additionally, he urged unity, stating that all diseases could be cured with collective efforts.

Ogbonna pointed out the absence of locally produced drugs in Nigeria, emphasizing the need to shift towards domestic production to save significant financial resources currently allocated to malaria treatment.

He argued that the funds spent on malaria treatment could be redirected to other developmental purposes such as education, industry, and economic growth.

While the Nigerian government initiated the cultivation of Artemisia Annua in 2020, the overall objective of achieving self-sufficiency in its production is yet to be realized.

ThePressNG has also reported that Nigerian pharmaceutical company, Emzor, was granted €14 million to set up its first active pharmaceutical ingredient plant to produce high-quality and affordable anti-malarial drugs.