More Malaria Deaths Due to Corona Pandemic
Worldwide, about 627,000 people died of malaria last year, an increase of 69,000 compared to a year earlier. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is partly due to the corona pandemic because the disease’s prevention, diagnosis, and treatment were disrupted.
Last year there were an estimated 241 million malaria cases, 14 million more than in 2019. Of the extra deaths, more than two-thirds are linked to the pandemic, the rest to a new calculation method. The WHO previously feared that the number of deaths from the corona crisis would double.
According to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the situation could have been “much worse” but prevented “through the hard work of health authorities” in countries with malaria. The director-general believes that “that same energy and dedication” is needed to reverse the setbacks caused by the pandemic.
The number of malaria cases and deaths has been declining steadily since the turn of the century but has increased again in the years leading up to the pandemic. Progress in the fight against malaria must now be accelerated, Tedros believes.
The head of the WHO malaria program thinks the world is “on the brink of a possible malaria crisis”. He warns that malaria is becoming an increasing problem in parts of Africa, where infectious disease is most common.