Economic impacts of malaria in Kenya and Nigeria.
During March-June 1993 in Nigeria and Kenya, focus groups and data collection were conducted to examine the economic impact of malaria. The study focused on annual lost production due to workers suffering from malaria episodes and due to workers caring for infants and children suffering from malaria. Based on outpatient clinic visits, malaria was responsible for 30% of all illness in Kenya. The increase in chloroquine-resistant malaria has contributed to the rise in malaria morbidity and mortality rates. In Nigeria, malaria was the major cause of child deaths. The researchers focused on perceived malaria rather than confirmed malaria. In Kenya, the maximum and minimum estimates for workdays missed per adult and child malaria episodes were four and two, respectively. The corresponding numbers of Nigeria were three and one. The maximum and minimum estimate for children per woman who needed caretaking for malaria was three for both countries. When one considers a high estimate of malaria episodes per year of four for children and adults in both countries, malaria has a substantial economic impact on production. Its economic impact was greater at the sectoral level, especially the household level, than the national economic level. In Kenya, the agricultural sector suffers much production lost due to malaria since most people work in agriculture. Nigeria has a more complex structure and distribution of the labor force than Kenya, so malaria's economic impact on sectors other than agriculture may be the same as or greater than that of Kenya. The economic impact appeared to be the greatest on the service sector in Nigeria. The dynamics of malaria's economic impact may be more complicated than one anticipated. One cannot predict this impact, based only on importance of each sector of the national economy.