Fighting COVID 19 has become the new normal for many governments across Africa. Rightfully so. But there is a clarion call now to Kenyan authorities; Don’t forget about Malaria.
Today, 25th of April is World Malaria Day
The theme for this year’s World Malaria Day is “Zero malaria starts with me”.
Ken Marara a specialist in Moi teaching and referral hospital feels that the ministry of health at large has focused all its efforts on the novel coronavirus pandemic threat to the detriment of the fight against Malaria.
“Malaria has a much higher death toll across the continent as at now”, says Ken.
“Most doctors and nurses who were conducting tests for malaria using rapid diagnostic test kits are busy focusing on COVID-19 this year”, says Ken.
“Similarly, most lab technicians and assistants who prepare blood slides for malaria tests, are occupied with novel coronavirus work”, adds Ken.
Speaking at the council of governors that was held at Moi teaching and referral hospital, Uasin Gishu county, MTRH CEO Wilson Aruasa urged the doctors not to ignore other health priorities like malaria.
“As COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe we must put more efforts to contain the virus, let us not compromise access to life-saving malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment services”.
Malaria Vaccination in Kenya
Kenya began piloting the RTS,S vaccine in Ndhiwa, Homabay County. Ndhiwa was chosen as one of the key areas because of its high burden of Malaria cases.
There is hope that through vaccination, there will be a 40% reduction in Malaria cases. Together with the use of treated bednet, the community will be hinging closer to a healthier malaria-free future. There are 7 other counties piloting the vaccine.
Malaria In Kenya is an ongoing battle that is fought in the bodies of some of the most vulnerable communities.
WHO is advising African governments to minimize disruptions in the fight against Malaria. As the spread of the coronavirus rises, there are concerns that ignoring Malaria will be detrimental.
Based on the new analysis released earlier this week, WHO has warned that the deaths from malaria could double this year. About 770,000 lives may be lost in Sub-Saharan Africa should communities not be able to access the insecticide-treated net (ITN). There have been disruptions in anti-malarial campaigns as a result of the ongoing COVID 19 crisis.
As much as COVID-19 has overshadowed this year’s world malaria day, there are key facts about Malaria that we all need to know, according to WHO.
- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes; however, it is preventable and curable.
- Among all communicable diseases, malaria is the third largest killer of children between the ages of one month and five years, following pneumonia and diarrhoea.
- Children aged under 5 years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria; in 2018, they accounted for 67% (272 000) of all malaria deaths worldwide.
- The WHO African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2018, the region was home to 93% of malaria cases and 94% of malaria deaths.
Click Here to view the covid-19 world numbers