Prof. Uade Ugbomoiko of the Department of Zoology, University of Ilorin, has said that malaria is taking a heavy toll on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Ugbomoiko told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin on Monday that the economic cost of parasitic diseases, especially malaria, was significant.
He said that the impact of the high death rate of the diseases on productivity and foreign investment could reduce GDP by 20 per cent or more by the next decade.
Ugbomoiko said the annual cost of malaria to Nigeria’s GDP was estimated to at between one per cent and six per cent.
“This economic loss can best be imagined if the daily figures of all malaria cases reported in our hospitals are treated conservatively on an average of about N800,.
“A small farmer in the country spends 13 per cent of his total household income on malaria treatment that could otherwise be used to benefit the economy per year,” he said.
Ugbomoiko warned that persistent infection could aggravate and provoke economic decay, social fragmentation and political destabilisation.
He, therefore, called for comprehensive and sustainable solution to parasitic diseases, adding that it was not the sole responsibility of health professionals but all stakeholders.
“Reducing infections needs to go hand-in-hand with improved socio economic and environmental indices, like poverty, illiteracy, poor sanitary conditions and general social deprivation, among others,’’ he said. (NAN)