“Every minute, a child under the age of 5 dies of malaria in the world”

En 2020, of the 241 million reported cases of malaria, 627,000 people died from the disease. These are 14 million additional cases and 47,000 more deaths than in 2019, as stated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its annual report published in December 2021. Pregnant women and children under five years account for 80% of deaths from malaria. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 95% of malaria cases and 96% of malaria-related deaths.

Today, every minute, a child under the age of five dies of malaria worldwide. If this disease – transmitted by the bite of the infected female Anopheles mosquito – were still decimating children and pregnant women in Europe or North America, investments in the fight against malaria would undoubtedly have been as rapid and massive as they could have been for the Covid-19.

A disease of the poor

Let’s face it. It is indeed a disease of the poor, which overwhelmingly affects the populations furthest from the health systems. Geographically distant, due to persistent discrimination, lack of consideration on the part of local, regional, national and international authorities.

However, progress has been made over the past two decades. In the early 2000s, malaria killed almost 900,000 people. But for five years, the fight against malaria has stagnated. It even declined, in particular due to the Covid-19 pandemic which hampered the smooth supply of vector control products and disrupted prevention services.

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In countries with the highest malaria burden – mainly in sub-Saharan Africa – the results tend to decrease. These regions face other threats, health, humanitarian, climatic. The latter is of particular concern to us. Climate change leads in particular to increased flooding and favors the emergence of mosquito vectors of malaria. Global warming will undoubtedly lead to an upsurge and spread of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, in some parts of the world.

Covid-19 has also greatly disrupted malaria control programs. From the start of the pandemic, the Global Fund [Le Fonds mondial de lutte contre le sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme] has implemented a response mechanism to the health crisis and has enabled countries benefiting from its funding to mitigate the impact of the crisis on programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. In Niger and Benin, for example, more than 8 million mosquito nets have been distributed to residents’ homes, in order to avoid gatherings during the Covid-19 period.

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