Friday, July 12, 2024

Africa: How can countries continue to combat malaria during a pandemic?

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With COVID-19 cases in Africa reaching 1,904,820 with over 45,954 deaths, the dangers the pandemic poses are clear. At the same time, it is important to recognise the increased risks posed by one of the continent’s most deadly diseases.

Malaria results in nearly half a million deaths globally every year, with about 90% of cases occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Due to disruptions of the delivery of mosquito nets and anti-malarial medicines this year, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa could double. In fact, it is possible that disruptions due to COVID-19 will result in more deaths from malaria, TB and HIV than the coronavirus itself.

What should countries where malaria is endemic do to prevent this scenario? Ghana and Sierra Leone provide interesting case studies. These two West African countries among fifteen African countries that, as of 2019, have started implementing their Zero Malaria Starts With Me campaigns. This movement was started by the non-profits Speak up Africa and PATH in collaboration with Senegal’s National Malaria Control Programme and is now co-led by the African Union and RBM Partnership to End Malaria. Read more…

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