Malaria death toll to exceed COVID-19’s in sub-Saharan Africa -WHO

London: Deaths from malaria due to disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic to services designed to tackle the mosquito-borne disease will far exceed those killed by COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organisation warned on Monday.

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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.

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“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 programme, told reporters.

Click Here: COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES 2019###

“It’s very likely that excess malaria mortality is larger than the direct COVID-19 mortality.” The WHO report found there were 229 million malaria cases globally in 2019, and said that despite the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries around the world had fought hard and held the line against the disease.

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But “long-term success in reaching a malaria-free world within a generation is far from assured”, it said. Some of the African countries worst affected by malaria have struggled to make significant progress since 2016.

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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.

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

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“The global health world, the media, and politics, are all transfixed by COVID-19,…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.

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“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.”

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