Double Danger: The impact of COVID-19 on Malaria

It was back in 2014, when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the beginning of the West Africa Ebola epidemic. There were nearly 29,000 cases and caused over 11,000 deaths. As awful as it was, there was a more alarming statistic - the crisis led to an increase of malaria cases by up to 1 million1In 2014 there were more than 200 million cases of malaria and over 400,000 deaths. 90% of those were in Africa, which was already crippled by Ebola. Now, it is COVID-19 which once again threatens the very fragile healthcare system in this poorest part of the world.The WHO has predicted that a worst case scenario could double the number of deaths by malaria, if all campaigns for prevention are suspended in the light of COVID-19. That is 700,000 deaths from malaria alone. Add to this the complications of poverty - for instance, the best recommendation of prevention against COVID-19 is the washing of hands however, many of these regions don’t have access to running, clean water.This is why the work of organizations such as Landcent has enormous consequences. And it would require those of us in safe and privileged communities to do our part to support activities on the front lines. If anything this pandemic has taught us that all of humanity is one fragile and single family. We can help each other and we must.

1 Walker PGT, White MT, Griffin JT, Reynolds A, Ferguson NM, Ghani AC. Malaria morbidity and mortality in Ebola-affected countries caused by decreased health-care capacity, and the potential effect of mitigation strategies: a modelling analysis. Lancet Infect Dis 2015; 15: 825–32.

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