By NewsDesk @bactiman63
In late 2014 during the West Africa Ebola outbreak, health experts were concerned about efforts to control the mosquito borne parasite, malaria are being hampered by the enormity of the Ebola effort.
Today amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization reported severe disruptions to insecticide-treated net campaigns and in access to antimalarial medicines could lead to a doubling in the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa this year compared to 2018.
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 would represent a return to malaria mortality levels last seen 20 years ago.
WHO urges countries to move fast and distribute malaria prevention and treatment tools at this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in sub-Saharan Africa, and to do their utmost to safely maintain these essential malaria control services.
Mass vector control campaigns should be accelerated, while ensuring that they are deployed in ways that protect health workers and communities against potential COVID-19 transmission. WHO and partners commend the leaders of Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and Chad for initiating ITN campaigns during the pandemic. Other countries are adapting their net distribution strategies to ensure households receive the nets as quickly and safely as possible.
Preventive therapies for pregnant women and children must be maintained. The provision of prompt diagnostic testing and effective antimalarial medicines are also essential to prevent a mild case of malaria from progressing to severe illness and death.
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