COVID-19 disrupted Malaria programs, resulting in more deaths
COVID-19 which was recorded end of 2019 is said to have disrupted Malaria prevention, detection, and treatment programs, which resulted in many deaths.
Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for most malaria cases in the world at 95%.
The region also leads on statistic of malaria deaths in the world.
However, the coming in of COVID-19 which was declared a global pandemic stood in the way of malaria programs.
Most countries including Zimbabwe instituted lockdowns as a way of curbing the spread of the virus.
These lockdowns in most cases meant that health workers could reach people in certain areas with malaria programs.
Those suspected to have contracted malaria could not go to health institutions for help, as some facilities were closed, while some demanded strict measures to be followed.
This saw many people affected by malaria failing to get medical attention leading to deaths.
In a statement, WHO said the disruptions caused by COVID-19 is responsible for some malaria deaths.
‘’New data from the World Health Organization reveal that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted malaria services, leading to a marked increase in cases and deaths.
‘’According to WHO’s latest World malaria report, there were an estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627 000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2020. This represents about 14 million more cases in 2020 compared to 2019, and 69 000 more deaths.
‘’Approximately two-thirds of these additional deaths
(47 000) were linked to disruptions in the provision of malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment during the pandemic,’’ read the statement.
The situation could have been worse
World Health Organisation had anticipated that the death rate could double because to the disruptions, but countries took action to minimise the damage.
However, the situation could have been far worse. In the early days of the pandemic, WHO had projected that – with severe service disruptions – malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa could potentially double in 2020. But many countries took urgent action to shore up their malaria programs, averting this worst-case scenario.
Who director-general Dr Tedros confirmed the fears for the worst-case scenario
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, global gains against malaria had levelled off.
“Thanks to the hard work of public health agencies in malaria-affected countries, the worst projections of COVID’s impact have not come to pass.
‘’Now, we need to harness that same energy and commitment to reverse the setbacks caused by the pandemic and step up the pace of progress against this disease,” he said.
Sub Saharan African most affected by Malaria
According to WHO, Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry the heaviest malaria burden, accounting for about 95% of all malaria cases and 96% of all deaths in 2020. About 80% of deaths in the region are among children under 5 years of age.
The pandemic struck at a point when global progress against malaria had already plateaued. By around 2017, there were signs that the phenomenal gains made since 2000—including a 27% reduction in global malaria case incidence and a nearly 51% reduction in the malaria mortality rate—were stalling
.COVID-19 disrupted Malaria programs, resulting in more deaths