Swift Action by World’s Governments Needed To Stop Doubling of Sub-Saharan Africa Malaria Deaths
April 24, 2020 (EIRNS)—The World Health Organization (WHO) on called yesterday for swift action by governments to save lives from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, by using “a critical window of opportunity” to use methods and procedures which are known to fight the disease; otherwise there could be more than 750,000 malaria deaths in this region.
Insecticide-treated net campaigns and anti-malarial medicines are two key components of the fight against malaria. The WHO’s World Malaria Report 2019 considered nine scenarios for potential disruptions in access to approved core malaria control tools. The report concluded:
“Under the worst-case scenario, in which all insecticide-treated net (ITN) campaigns are suspended and there is a 75% reduction in access to effective antimalarial medicines, the estimated tally of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 would reach 769,000, twice the number of deaths reported in the region in 2018.”
This, the report said, would represent a return to malaria mortality levels last seen 20 years ago.
Already, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to over 90% of the world’s estimated 228 million malaria cases, and also more than 90% of its deaths.
According to the WHO, the number of reported cases of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa to date has represented only a small proportion of the global total, though cases are increasing every week.
“This means that countries across the region have a critical window of opportunity to minimize disruptions in malaria prevention and treatment and save lives at this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak.” Should this not be done promptly, then the fight against COVID-19 would intersect a growing number of malaria deaths.