This Years Theme for World Malaria Day is “Zero malaria starts with me”
WHO underlines the critical importance of sustaining efforts to prevent, detect and treat malaria, using best practices to protect health workers and communities from COVID-19 infection.
- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.
- In 2018, there were an estimated 228 million cases of malaria worldwide.
- The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 405 000 in 2018.
- 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.
- Total funding for malaria control and elimination reached an estimated US$ 2.7 billion in 2018. Contributions from governments of endemic countries amounted to US$ 900 million, representing 30% of total funding.
Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms usually appear 10–15 days after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms – fever, headache, and chills – may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.
Children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms: severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria. In adults, multi-organ failure is also frequent. In malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.
According to WHO’s analysis, they urge all countries to ensure the continuity of malaria services in the context of the COVID-19 as Safety of front-line health workers is a primary concern
“As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread, WHO would like to send a clear message to malaria-affected countries in Africa,” said Dr. Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “Do not scale back your planned malaria prevention, diagnostic and treatment activities. If someone living in a place with malaria develops a fever, he or she should seek diagnosis and care as soon as possible.”