Home Stories The best way to battle malaria throughout a pandemic

The best way to battle malaria throughout a pandemic

At the beginning of the pandemic, many individuals feared that not solely would COVID-19 itself be a catastrophe, however the lockdowns and different prevention strategies would have an terrible ripple impact: disrupting the battle in opposition to malaria in a catastrophic means.

A modeling analysis from the World Well being Group, which I shared here final 12 months, discovered that annual malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa might double, returning to dying charges not seen in over 20 years.

A 12 months later, I’m blissful to have the ability to report that this worst-case situation, a minimum of for now, has been prevented. That is due to the management of African international locations, which shortly tailored their malaria applications to fulfill the challenges of the pandemic. Practising social distancing and different security measures, malaria employees had been in a position to perform their duties, delivering long-lasting insecticide-treated mattress nets, controlling mosquito populations with indoor spraying, and offering preventive therapy for pregnant ladies and kids. In Nigeria, which nonetheless suffers from 60 million instances of malaria every year, health workers managed to even enhance their supply of malaria management, defending thousands and thousands of youngsters in considered one of their largest campaigns up to now.

On the similar time, malaria assets have served double obligation, tackling the mosquito-borne illness and serving to to regulate the unfold of COVID-19.

In Zambia, the scientists and tools within the Nationwide Malaria Elimination Program’s genomic surveillance laboratory used to observe malaria drug resistance shortly pivoted to seek out COVID-19 variants within the nation. In Mozambique, an app created for well being employees to supply real-time reporting of malaria instances and fevers has provided important knowledge to the nationwide COVID response.

Regardless of this progress, our work just isn’t over. Malaria nonetheless kills greater than 400,000 individuals every year. And pandemic lockdowns and motion restrictions have hampered some important malaria actions, together with entry to analysis and therapy efforts in Africa.

Nonetheless, I’m optimistic {that a} world with out malaria is inside attain. And the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us why eradicating malaria is important. Lots of the constructing blocks we have to battle malaria and stop the subsequent pandemic are the identical: correct, real-time knowledge; dependable provide chains to convey medicines and assets the place they’re wanted most; and cross-country collaboration.

Investments in malaria applications assist construct stronger well being techniques that won’t solely save lives and produce an finish to malaria, but additionally defend us from the subsequent pandemic. And that creates a more healthy, safer world for all.


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