The coming weeks represent the start of the malaria transmission season in many countries across Africa. These first weeks of the malaria season this year will be especially critical for ensuring the safe delivery of essential malaria commodities and services to avoid major outbreaks and protect significant gains made in the fight against malaria.
The global malaria community is mobilizing to mitigate the risk that COVID-19 poses to malaria elimination and control efforts. This includes the private sector who is an important advocate, partner and stakeholder in the fight against malaria. The Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA) is working with businesses to ensure that delivery of malaria services continues while maintaining safety in the context of COVID-19 transmission.
CAMA has released its guidance to the business community on how to ensure the maintenance of malaria services in the workplace and community during COVID-19. The guideline aligns with WHO’s guidance, Tailoring malaria interventions in the COVID-19 response, which advises countries on how to maintain malaria services as part of a country’s essential health package while working to control COVID-19. We encourage businesses to follow the guidance.
The numbers are stark
Malaria is a widespread endemic disease that causes illness in approximately 230 million people and kills approximately 430,000 people each year. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of malaria-related deaths fell by 40% worldwide, from an estimated 743,000 to 446,000, through the combination of improved collective action, private sector support and global solidarity, which significantly reduced malaria morbidity and mortality.
But in recent years, progress has at best plateaued. According to WHO’s World malaria report 2019, there were no global gains in reducing new infections from 2014 to 2018, and nearly as many people died from malaria in 2018 as the year before.
The rapid emergence and spread of COVID-19 across the world have created massive global disruptions that are impacting people’s lives and wellbeing. There is an urgent need to aggressively tackle COVID-19. But, while work is underway to curb the spread of COVID-19, it is essential that other killer diseases, such as malaria, are not ignored. The COVID-19 pandemic has been and will continue to be devastating on its own – but this devastation will be substantially amplified if the response to COVID-19 undermines the provision of life-saving services for other diseases, like malaria.
WHO underlines the critical importance of sustaining efforts to prevent, detect and treat malaria. Severe disruptions to insecticide-treated net campaigns and access to antimalarial medicines could lead to a doubling in the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa this year as compared to 2018, according to a new modelling analysis released by WHO and partners in late April.
The Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa is committed to the fight to end malaria in Africa, and we will continue to work closely with partners to achieve this goal.
Our core objectives are:
- Support businesses in workplace and community malaria programs; protect employees, contractors, and those most vulnerable in the community where businesses operate – including pregnant women and children under five in malaria-affected communities – with life-saving malaria tools; and prioritize safe delivery of these essential interventions
- Advance malaria on the national and international agenda to improve investment in the fight against malaria
- Foster strategic partnerships to scale up malaria control and elimination efforts
- Jointly addressing endemic malaria and pandemic COVID-19
- COVID-19 and Malaria info from RBM Partnership
- COVID-19 and Malaria info from WHO
- Guidelines on distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) in COVID-19 affected countries
- Impacts of COVID-19 on the delivery of essential malaria services in Africa
- African leaders call for immediate action to save additional lives from malaria in the face of COVID-19
- WHO urges countries to move quickly to save lives from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa
- More statements and reports on COVID-19 and malaria