Prevalence of malaria in Nigeria remains higher compared to other African countries because the country is focusing on control rather than elimination.
The latest 2010 National Malaria Indicator Survey launched today estimated malaria prevalence in Nigeria at 42%, higher than Mali's 31% and Liberia's 32%.
Health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu, who launched the report in Abuja, said Nigeria should "really be thinking more of elimination."
"Control was part of the reason we didn't get the destination we wanted. We need to eliminate malaria, and it is nothing new that I am saying."
Malaria put "pressure on the already strained health system and Nigeria loses up to N132 billion naira yearly in form of treatment cost, prevention and loss of manhours," he added.
Chukwu said Nigeria was working toward 2015 as target to eliminate malaria, according to goals set by heads of governments in the West African subregion.
The survey of nearly 6,2000 households shows needs to increase use of treated nets among women and children, advance public knowledge about malaria prevention and treatment by using media more amenable to location and education.
But authorities are hoping possible use of anti-malaria vaccine can help with elimination. Clinical trials indicate candidate vaccines can reduce by half the number of times immunised children get malaria.
"That's significant progress for the world," said Chukwu.