Coronavirus pandemic has affected all political and social frameworks in major parts of the world. The researchers are now concerned about a potential increase in malaria caused death especially in the sub-Saharan African regions. They are predicting these deaths to be double this year if the control and prevention strategies are affected or interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The complete study findings are published in the journal Nature Medicine.
Malaria is a big health risk in the sub-Saharan African region. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 cases in this area are also at the peak and it doesn’t seem like they will be under control anytime soon. Along with medical care, the non-medical measures are also highly suggested here to prevent new coronavirus cases.
The spread of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa was somehow controlled by using the insecticidal nets for these mosquitoes. This year, the net distribution campaigns were scheduled for sub-Saharan countries as well as many other countries that are at risk of malaria.
These mosquito nets have played a helpful role in controlling malaria cases and avoiding malaria caused deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. This year, these net distribution and awareness campaigns are canceled because of the high risk of COVID-19. This disruption and delay will adversely affect the malaria cases which is why health experts are worried about increased malaria cases this year.
In this study, Thomas Churcher and his colleagues investigated the impact of COVID-19 on malaria control strategies and many other primary health services under four scenarios.
The data revealed that stopping all disease controlling measures especially anti-malaria campaigns, the new cases of malaria will increase more than double as reported in the year 2019.
Taking an example of only one country, Nigeria the disturbed schedule of distributing the malaria nets may cause 81,000 more deaths. Note that this death rate is expected despite the country spent six years to manage new cases.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has requested all countries to take necessary actions for avoiding the malaria caused deaths. This report was published by the WHO team and their partners on World Malaria Day (25 April).
Currently, 41 countries are at risk of new malarial cases which may double than the cases reported last year. The 2019’s report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) says that 93% of cases of malaria and 94% of malaria causes deaths were reported from sub-Saharan Africa in the year 2018.
All the cases reported from these areas are only a small representation of the cases and the actual number of cases could be much higher. Considering the coronavirus pandemic, the cases of malaria in 2019 are highly likely to increase.
The research team highlights the significance of controlling the new malaria cases irrespective of the ongoing pandemic. Malaria controlling activities such as mosquito net distribution should not be stopped at any cost. Additionally, people will be educated on taking self-based prevention methods, making the anti-malarial medicines and treatment available, emphasizing the social distancing and other non-pharma plans could save lives.