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Africa holds 94% of malaria burden – WHO

The Director General of the World Health Organization, WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus says Africa accounts for Ninety-four percent (94%) of all malaria cases in the world.

Dr. Ghebreyesus also noted that Children under five years in the region contributed to two-thirds of global deaths from the disease in 2019. 

He made this known in a message to mark World Malaria day. 

According to him, in 2019, about 229 million cases of malaria were recorded out of which over 400 hundred thousand deaths occurred in 87 countries.

Dr Ghebreyesus said the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020 had led to the disruption of malaria responses leading to a surge in deaths.

He said in many countries, lockdowns and restrictions on the movement of people and goods led to delays in the delivery of insecticide-treated mosquito nets or insecticide spraying campaigns.

The WHO DG however explained that countries were urged to maintain essential Health services including malaria while ensuring that communities and health workers were protected from COVID-19 transmission. 

He also announced the launch of the E-2025 initiative, which identifies 25 countries that have the potential to stamp out malaria within a Five-year timeline.

These countries will receive specialized support and technical guidance as they work towards the target of Zero malaria.

On his part, the Director,  WHO Global malaria programme, Dr. Pedro Alonso called for more political commitment from within malaria-endemic countries to end the disease.

 He noted that the commitment must be translated into domestic funding that can be sustained even after a country is malaria-free.

He added that countries with high burden of malaria must also establish strong primary health care systems to ensure that access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment services are gotten without financial hardship.

EMMANUEL KUTARA

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