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Malaria Death May Double By End Of 2020- Malaria Coordinator Says

By Regina Onyegbula,
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The National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr Audu Mohammed has said that malaria death in sub-sahara Africa could double by end of 2020.

Mohammed who made the assertion during the 2020 first bia-annual media chat held on Tuesday, in Abuja, noted the theme as ”Sustaining and improving access to malaria interventions while dealing with COVID19 related stigma and fear”.

Dr Mohammed spoke on the outcome of a recent survey by Global Funds indicated that malaria and a few other key services are being seriously disrupted on account of countries and their health systems’ response to the pandemic.

”The results highlighted several cancelled or delayed prevention activities.

”The Global Funds noted that activities are being canceled due to Restrictions on gathering of people, Transport stoppages, covid-related stigma, Reluctance of health workers to attend to people suspected of having TB or malaria – which have many of the same initial symptoms as COVID-19.

He said Clients are not seeking health services as usual because recent projections suggest that most prevention activities are cancelled or delayed.

He added that malaria services like insecticide-treated net campaigns and access to antimalarial medicines experience severe disruption warning that Malaria deaths in Sub-Saharan African could double by the end of this year.

Dr Audu said, Under the worst-case scenario presented in an analysis that was done, the death toll in sub-saharan Africa in 2020 would exceed the total number of malaria deaths reported globally in the year 2000.

”It is therefore critical that Nigeria and other malaria-endemic countries minimize any disruptions of malaria prevention and treatment during the COVID-19 response given that failure to do so could lead to catastrophic loss of life.

”For us we intend to ensure access to and use of ITNs are maintained through campaigns that are adapted to protect health workers and communities from COVID-19.

”We also intend to continue case management of malaria, including prompt diagnostic testing and treatment, delivered safely and appropriately.

”The National Malaria Elimination Programme has developed and is implementing a business continuity plan for the rest of this year, prioritizing interventions, streamlining campaign activities.

”For both Long Last Insecticidal Nets and Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention, and developing appropriate messaging including risk communication based on the evolving pandemic,” he said.

He however canvassed necessary preventive measures to avoid getting sick with malaria such as sleeping inside the net every night, having screens on doors and windows for those that could afford it.

”Pregnant women uptake of preventive medicines at regular intervals during pregnancy, and ensuring children below 5 years in the sahelian region are brought out to have preventive medicines during the SMC campaigns,” he added.