WHO warns malaria deaths could double during COVID pandemic

nasir.wakeel |

WHO warns malaria deaths could double during COVID pandemic

World Health Organization has warned that deaths from malaria can double if efforts are not urgently scaled up, as the coronavirus pandemic could severely disrupt access to anti-malaria drugs in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN health agency called on countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 95 percent of all the world’s malaria cases and deaths occur, to rapidly distribute malaria prevention and treatment tools, before they become too overwhelmed with novel coronavirus cases.

“Severe disruptions to insecticide-treated net campaigns and access to antimalarial medicines could lead to a doubling in the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa this year compared to 2018,” the WHO warned, citing new modelling analysis.

The hike would have particularly dire consequences for young children, with those under five making up more than two-thirds of all malaria deaths in 2018.