Malaria: An Urgent and Asymmetric Burden
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 32 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa account for 93% of all malaria deaths, worldwide. In the region, four countries represent the majority of global cases: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania. Of those, Nigeria experiences the heaviest burden; enduring approximately 27% of global malaria cases and 24% of malaria deaths each year. In 2021 alone, 61 million Nigerians were afflicted with malaria and 200,000 were killed by it. Given the urgent nature of the issue, Nigeria annually spends over US$1 billion on malaria prevention and treatment; however, despite these efforts—and the creation of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine, in use as of October 2021—the incidence of malaria has been on the rise there for the first time in over a decade.
Malaria and Nivi
Given both the crushing disease burden and promising new tools to control and potentially eradicate the disease, malaria has been a top global health priority, and, as of December 2, 2022, Nivi is officially contributing to the fight. Understanding that 76% of Nigerians live in malaria risk regions, Nivi has made malaria content available on the askNivi chatbot in Nigeria in both English and Hausa, helping to drive awareness and recommend targeted healthcare for Nivi users across the country. askNivi’s malaria content is accessible via the chatbot’s main menu for optimal visibility and easy entry to seven malaria topics in an easy-to-understand and actionable format. These malaria topics include: a general overview of malaria, its signs and symptoms, how it spreads, who is at risk, how to prevent it, and malaria testing and treatment.
In addition, users can opt to take a malaria myth-busting quiz. With a nearly 90% completion rate, askNivi quizzes are a content tool that have proven immensely effective across askNivi’s various health areas. Moreover, they’re a handy mechanism for audience segmentation, and are rapidly growing on the platform—present already in HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis education, as well as assessment of contraception understanding and knowledge of sexual behavior and pregnancy risk. Quizzes marry highly engaging questions with a refined scoring system; the former of which is intended to both educate users as well as alert them to common misconceptions and, in combination with the latter, encourages behavior change to achieve increased malaria prevention as well as treatment among Nigerian users.
With that level of awareness-building, users will be armed with everything they need to make informed decisions to prevent malaria, find nearby screening, and access treatment — connections which are also provided at each “turn” of the new malaria content. Due to an initial partnership with Society for Family Health Nigeria (SFH), Nivi can offer all its users (confidentially, and for free) referrals for fever consults, malaria counseling, malaria testing, malaria treatment, and maternal malaria consults at a whopping 909 local, georeferenced frontline pharmacy and drugshop providers across Nigeria. Through collaboration and innovation, Nivi has joined the effort to combat yet another one of the most significant public health issues plaguing the region. And we welcome other organizations engaged in malaria screening and treatment to join us (you can contact us here)! Together, we can accomplish so much more.
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