Distribution of mosquito nets might minimize malaria deaths in Africa throughout COVID-19 in half Imperial Information
The mosquito net distribution could help cut the number of deaths from malaria in half during the coronavirus outbreak in Africa, Imperial researchers say.
There are concerns that malaria control activities – such as distributing insecticidal nets – could be seriously disrupted as a result of the pandemic.
Imperial’s COVID-19 Response Team writes in Nature Medicine that the number of malaria deaths could more than double in 2020 compared to 2019.
Rapid action, however, could significantly reduce the burden of malaria and prevent common malaria and COVID-19 epidemics from simultaneously overwhelming vulnerable health systems.
In the article, researchers estimate the impact of disrupting malaria prevention activities and other central health services under four different COVID-19 epidemic scenarios.
An estimated 228 million long-lived insecticidal nets (LLINs) should be shipped across sub-Saharan Africa this year more than ever before.
They estimate that if these mosquito nets are not used and preventive chemotherapy and case management are reduced by half for six months, they estimate that sub-Saharan Africa could have 779,000 malaria deaths in 12 months.
If prevention efforts were halted during the outbreak, the team estimates that 200,000 deaths could be prevented over a six-month period if treatment for malaria is continued.
The researchers recommend prioritizing the routine distribution of LLINs alongside maintaining access to malaria treatment and using chemoprevention to prevent significant malaria epidemics.
Treating children with a fever
The researchers estimate that pRetreating children with fever due to malaria could save up to 178,000 lives if diagnoses are not available and nets are not distributed
Fever is a symptom of both COVID-19 and malaria, which can potentially confuse diagnosis in settings with limited testing for both diseases.
The researchers say that simple age-based guidelines could go a long way in reducing the burden of malaria in the absence of malaria tests.
They estimate that suspected malaria treatment for 70% of children under the age of 15 with fever could save 178,000 lives in the next year.
Dr. Thomas Churcher of the Imperial School of Public Health said, “It is vital to take malaria prevention action now to ease pressure on health systems as COVID-19 cases rise.”
Okefu Oyale Okoko, Deputy Director / Head of Integrated Vector Management Department of the National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP) of the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, said: “In light of COVID-19, it will remain important to ensure that vector control measures continue will be used as far as possible to not only maintain the progress already made in eradicating malaria, but also to ensure that malaria does not recur. ”
James Whiting, Executive Director at Malaria No More UK, said: “Efforts to maintain web campaigns across sub-Saharan Africa are vital. We know how to prevent, track and treat malaria, but the burden of Covid-19 The health systems burdened risks fought hard for progress.
“This important modeling is a reminder that efforts to end malaria are up-to-date. Protecting people from Covid-19 cannot be done in isolation. Governments must consider sustaining malaria efforts as a core part of pandemic preparedness or risk a catastrophic domino effect. ”