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Cover page of the Journal of Health Sciences


 
 Table of Contents  
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 264-265

Sustaining the delivery of malaria elimination services amidst an ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak in the African Region


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission16-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance20-May-2020
Date of Web Publication05-Oct-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) - Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District- 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/kleuhsj.kleuhsj_111_20

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  Abstract 

The Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has become a global public health priority and it has compelled multiple nations to divert their resources for the containment of the disease at the earliest. With regard to malaria, the African region is the most affected one, accounting for 93% of the reported cases worldwide. However, since the emergence of the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a sense of fear about the disease among the health sector personnel. It won't be wrong to say that COVID-19 outbreak has exposed weaknesses in our preparedness activities, but then we have to identify a balance between the outbreak response activities and the activities which are ongoing in the region for decades for the control of malaria. It is of utmost importance that all the malaria-endemic nations in the African region should continue to sustain malaria-related prevention, diagnostic and treatment services. In conclusion, the activities pertaining to the containment of COVID-19 and malaria are equally important in the African region. The services pertaining to prevention and control of malaria should be continued as it is and the public health authorities should not allow COVID-19 to become a more important priority and thus reallocate the available resources.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, malaria, world health organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Sustaining the delivery of malaria elimination services amidst an ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak in the African Region. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res 2020;13:264-5

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Sustaining the delivery of malaria elimination services amidst an ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak in the African Region. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Dec 2];13:264-5. Available from: https://www.ijournalhs.org/text.asp?2020/13/3/264/297183


  Introduction Top


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has become a global public health priority, and it has compelled multiple nations to divert their resources for the containment of the disease at the earliest.[1] Any health stakeholder won't deny the pressing need to scale up our efforts for outbreak readiness and response plan, especially considering the caseload which has risen to 4,618,821 cases and the associated death of 31,1847 individuals since the detection of the first case in China.[1] On the other hand, malaria has accounted for 228 million cases and 0.4 million deaths across the world in 2018. Malaria has a case fatality rate of 0.18%, while at present for COVID-19, it stands at 6.7%, which is alarmingly high.[1],[2] In the African Region, malaria is a major public health concern, as it accounts for a major proportion of the global caseload. In fact, the African region alone accounts for 93% of malaria cases and 94% of malaria deaths in the year 2018.[2]

COVID-19 has shown very high potential for international transmission, and it is clearly evident by the fact that the disease has been reported in 216 nations, and territories have reported confirmed cases of the disease.[1] It won't be wrong to say that the impact of the disease has been so much that it has led to the fall in the economy of a nation, closure of educational institutions and business sector, and in many nations, it has forced political leaders to impose a complete lockdown just to get enough time to be ready with a better response.

Malaria and COVID-19 in African region

With regard to malaria, the African region is the most affected one, accounting for 93% of the reported cases worldwide.[2] In fact, nations in the African region have been constantly working to bring about a reduction in the incidence and malaria-specific death rates and thus attain the Sustainable Development Goals.[2],[3] However, since the emergence of the COVID-19 outbreak, things have not remained the same, as the outbreak has been so extensive that it has tested the resilience of the health-care delivery system of each and every nation.[4]

At present, in the African region, a total of 11,367 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported across 45 nations, and there is a significant amount of fear among the public health authorities about the same.[1] This fear is predominantly because of the preexisting weaknesses in the health system of the African region, and it is anticipated that if the caseload of the disease increases at a rapid pace, the consequences will be disastrous.[3] It won't be wrong to say that the COVID-19 outbreak has exposed weaknesses in our preparedness activities, but then, we have to identify a balance between the outbreak response activities and the activities which are ongoing in the region for decades for the control of malaria.[1],[4]

Need of the hour

Further, it is of utmost importance that all the malaria-endemic nations in the African region should continue to sustain malaria-related prevention, diagnostic, and treatment services.[3],[5] The gains accomplished in malaria control in the African region have come after the dedicated efforts of many years and lots of financial investments and if we now relax these services, we might end up losing all the gains accomplished in the malaria control so far.[2],[5] It is important to note that some of the symptoms such as fever, difficulty in breathing, fatigue, and headaches of malaria and COVID-19 are similar and thus, it casts an important challenge for the public health authorities to timely diagnose the infections.[6] The activities pertaining to vector control, chemoprophylaxis, operational research, etc., have to be extensively strengthened.[2] In addition, efforts have to be taken to ensure that the well-being and safety of health personnel are ensured and they are provided with adequate personal protective equipment to minimize the risk of acquisition of infection.[3],[4],[5]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, the activities pertaining to the containment of COVID-19 and malaria are equally important in the African region. The services pertaining to prevention and control of malaria should be continued as it is and the public health authorities should not allow COVID-19 to become a more important priority and thus reallocate the available resources.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 119. World Health Organization; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coro naviruse/situation-reports/20200518-covid-19-sitrep-119.pdf?sfvrsn=4bd9de25_4. [Last accessed on 2020 May 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. Malaria – Key Facts. World Health Organization; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-ro om/fact-sheets/detail/malaria. [Last acc essed on 2020 Apr 16].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. WHO Urges Countries to Ensure the Continuity of Malaria Services in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic. World Health Organization; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/25-03-2020-wh o-urges-countries-to-ensure-the-continuity-of-malaria-ser vices-in-the-context-of-the-covid-19-pandemic. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 16].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Zhu GD, Cao J. Challenges and countermeasures on Chinese malaria elimination programme during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Zhongguo Xue Xi Chong Bing Fang Zhi Za Zhi 2020;32:7-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Wang J, Xu C, Wong YK, He Y, Adegnika AA, Kremsner PG, et al. Preparedness is essential for malaria-endemic regions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet 2020;395:1094-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Chanda-Kapata P, Kapata N, Zumla A. COVID-19 and malaria: A symptom screening challenge for malaria endemic countries. Int J Infect Dis 2020;94:151-3.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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