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Malaria death toll to exceed COVID-19 : WHO

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Malaria death toll to exceed COVID-19 : WHO

The World Health Organization is calling on countries to step up the fight against malaria, saying the coronavirus pandemic threatens to reverse important gains made in efforts to control this deadly disease.

More than 409 000 people globally – most of them babies in the poorest parts of Africa were killed by malaria last year, the WHO said in its latest global malaria report, and Covid-19 will almost certainly make that toll higher in 2020.

“Our estimates are that depending on the level of service disruption (due to Covid-19) … there could be an excess of malaria deaths of somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 in sub-Saharan Africa, most of them in young children,” Pedro Alsonso, director of the WHO’s malaria program, told reporters.

Due to ongoing transmission of malaria via mosquitoes in many parts of the world, half the global population is at risk of contracting the disease – and it still kills a child every two minutes. Despite this, the focus of global funding and attention has been diverted, making preventable child deaths more likely.

Due to ongoing transmission of malaria via mosquitoes in many parts of the world, half the global population is at risk of contracting the disease – and it still kills a child every two minutes. Despite this, the focus of global funding and attention has been diverted, making preventable child deaths more likely.

Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, said the WHO report’s findings were “extremely timely”.

“The global health world, the media, and politics, are all transfixed by COVID … and yet we pay very little attention to a disease that is still killing over 400,000 people every year, mainly children,” he told reporters at the briefing.

“And to remind you, this is a disease we do know how to get rid of – so it is a choice that we don’t.”

 

When not expelling tech wisdom, Rutendo feeds on good stories that strike on all those emotional chords. She loves road trips, a good laugh, and interesting people.

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