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Malaria death toll could exceed that of Covid-19 in SSA, WHO warns

Monday, 30 November 2020 17:27
Malaria death toll could exceed that of Covid-19 in SSA, WHO warns

(Ecofin Agency) - In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of deaths due to malaria could far exceed that of the covid-19 pandemic. This was announced by the WHO on Monday, November 30, 2020.

In a new report, the institution states that the particular attention given to the covid-19 pandemic worldwide has overshadowed the malaria control process. Malaria killed 409,000 people worldwide in 2019, with more than 90% of the deaths in Africa and specifically the sub-Saharan region.

Even though Africa has managed to reduce malaria mortality by 44% in 20 years (from 680,000 deaths per year to 384,000), the funding gap is likely to significantly undermine the progress made so far. WHO said disruptions in access to malaria treatment could result in up to 100,000 more deaths than the death toll already recorded each year on the continent.

"It's very likely that excess malaria mortality is larger than the direct COVID mortality," said Pedro Alsonso, Head of WHO's malaria program.

When the pandemic broke out, many voices had been raised calling on leaders to continue fighting against the serious diseases that existed before the coronavirus.

In May, WHO had already warned that the number of deaths caused by malaria on the African continent could double this year to 769,000, a record in 20 years. One reason for this pessimism is the interruption in the manufacture of antimalarial drugs in the main countries where they are produced, such as India.

According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), HIV death toll could also double in sub-Saharan Africa, with more than 500,000 additional deaths, if access to treatment is disrupted by covid-19.

Let’s note that to date Africa has 2.1 million cases of covid-19, 51,708 deaths, and 1.8 million recoveries.

Moutiou Adjibi Nourou

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