By Christopher Bendana
Disruptions in the delivery of insecticide-treated nets and anti-malarial drugs caused by the emergency of COVID-19 will lead to doubling of malaria death on the African continent according to a new modeling analysis.
In a statement released to the press on April 23 WHO says the modeling analysis conducted by WHO in collaboration with the Malaria Atlas Project, PATH, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation considered scenarios that would disrupt access to main malaria control tools in 41 countries affected by the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. It explored the likely increase in malaria cases and death.
The model predicts 769,000 death in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 twice the number reported in 2018 in the worst-case scenario. This is when insecticide-treated nets campaigns are suspended and there is a 75% reduction in access to effective antimalarial medicines.
Dr. Jimmy Opigo, an official in the Ministry of Health said they are in a campaign dubbed Double your Prevention Care: Why survive COVID and die of Malaria. He said here they are encouraging people to sleep under mosquitoes treated nets and also visits the health village team in case they developed any malaria signs.
He further explained that they have provided PPE with health care personnel handling malaria cases as malaria symptoms resemble those of COVID-19 hence some malaria patents would be mistaken as COVID-19 one.
However, the WHO statement explains that the analysis is also subject to cautions saying how for instance it does not take in effect the interruption in indoor spraying or seasonal malaria chemoprevention in many countries except Burkina Faso, It explains a suspension of these malaria prevention tools would lead to considerable loss of life.
The WHO statement quoting the World Malaria report 2019 reveals that sub-Saharan Africa accounted for about 93% of all malaria cases and 94% of deaths in 2018. More than two-thirds were among children under the age of five
According to Malaria Consortium Uganda is one of the five countries that accounted for 50% of the global malaria deaths in 2017.