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Features-In African villages, coronaviruses pose a threat of a surge in malaria deaths


GULU/PALABEK, Uganda, July 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation)-Acayo Rose (74), a small house in northern Uganda surrounded by six children she cares for, is a mosquito net inherited from her dead relatives. Sleeping under

“There are a lot of holes in my net,” said Rose, dressed in a T-shirt, when she made a gesture toward the bedroom of an old, ruined building in the Guru district where she lives. Told. “Every net has holes.”

Rose has just recovered from malaria. Malaria also infected her beloved two-year-old grandson.

She was unemployed and borrowed to pay the 25,000 Uganda Shillings ($6.80) needed to treat both herself and the infant whose life was at risk.

“It was really terrible,” she said, and saw him playing with a stick on the ground.

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that approximately 405,000 people died of malaria in 2018, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 94% of these deaths. More than two-thirds of the victims were under the age of five.

In April, the WHO warned that coronavirus pandemics reached 769,000, which could nearly double the number of annual malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa this year.

The prevalence of COVID-19 affected access to antimalarial drugs, warned people to go to a doctor, and affected the distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

This is not the first time another outbreak has led to an increased number of malaria infections.

In North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, malaria cases have increased eightfold after the 2018 Ebola outbreak due to a shift in focus of medical activity.

Recognizing the risks, many countries are worried that they will lose their recent gains in achieving the globally agreed UN goal of eradicating malaria by 2030, and will reduce their numbers. We are promoting a targeted campaign.

Uganda is planning its first national mosquito net distribution program this year since 2017, with approximately 27 million nets distributed to 43 million people.

Doctor’s attention

The distribution team has begun work, put on protective clothing and is backed by the World Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Anti-Malaria Foundation and USAID.

“The mosquitoes aren’t blocked, they’re still free. Why do you survive COVID-19 and die of malaria?” said Jimmy Opigo, Program Manager for the National Malaria Program at the Uganda Department of Health. I will.

“The distribution of mosquito nets is one of the main means to combat malaria. We do it every three years, as long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets last for three years.”

Uganda reduced the prevalence of malaria from 42% in 2009 to about 9.2% in 2018, and Opigo said continuing regular public health interventions were key, despite a pandemic.

“Especially for malaria, we can bring back a revival and an epidemic if you do not respond. Reversal and loss of all the profits we have made,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

However, while efforts are underway to distribute bednets, some healthcare workers fear that government-delivered nets will arrive too late.

“We have the worst malaria incidence in the world,” said Nicolas Laing, co-founder of One Day Health, which operates a telehealth center in northern Uganda.

Laing is raising money to buy 5000 nets.

“The Guru malaria season runs from April to October, with nets scheduled for October or November,” Rain said.

“It’s absolutely crippled… you have all these children and adults with anemia. They have much lower energy than they need.”

Malaria season

With over 600,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Africa, health workers are concerned that pandemics may prevent people from visiting doctors.

“There is a general hesitation in visiting any healthcare facility because we fear not only the patient, but also her parents, can be infected,” said the Medicines Sands Frontieres (MSF) Hospital in Eastern Sierra Leone. Said Fabio Violkini, who is the person.

Biolchini said they were seeing only a third of the number of patients who came this year last year, and parents brought sick children “as a last resort.”

Instead, MSF operates an outreach program that includes a mobile clinic, and Biolchini says there have been “many” cases of malaria.

Malaria is a major public health concern, said Keziah L. Malm, Program Manager for the National Malaria Program in Ghana.

“It affects every aspect of people’s health, society and economic life,” Malm said.

Ghana reported its first COVID-19 case in March, with more than 23,800 confirmed cases today, one of the highest on the continent.

On the other hand, malaria hospitalization decreased.

“People will rather stay at home, buy over-the-counter drugs, and only visit hospitals if all other self-medication attempts fail,” Malm said.

Ocen David, a 19-year-old South Sudanese refugee is recovering from malaria in the Parabeck refugee settlement in northern Uganda.

“We have too many mosquitoes this time. We have malaria every day,” said David, who has lived in about 53,000 inhabitants since its establishment in 2017.

Refugee Welfare Council Chairman Okan Robert said the net was last distributed in 2018.

Staff were overwhelmed at one of Parabeck’s health clinics and said they lacked the resources needed to work on soaps, masks and COVID-19 to ensure social distance.

Clinician Adon Nancy said many patients were caused by malaria or anemia, while others were affected by the development of scabies.

Last month, one died of malaria in a clinic, and one more died in a hospital after showing advanced symptoms.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, staff were wrestling with illness levels, Nancy said. “Most of them come (too late),” she said.

($1 = 3,700.0000 Uganda Shilling)

This story is one in a series funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. (reported by Sally Hayden, edited by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith, credited to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity of Thomson Reuters, a charity of Thomson Reuters, a world suffering from freedom or just living. It covers the lives of people inside.


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