Malaria’s ‘Doomsday Scenario’ Avoided, But…

There’s plenty of bad news in the WHO’s new global malaria report, especially for sub-Saharan Africa—which shouldered ~95% of all of the world’s malaria cases and 96% of the deaths in 2020.

  • The ~241 million cases and 627,000 deaths reflect increases of 14 million and 69,000 respectively—with the uptick attributed largely to pandemic disruptions.
  • Children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa account for ~80% of the region’s deaths.

 
But: The WHO’s early-pandemic “doomsday scenario” projection that sub-Saharan Africa’s malaria deaths could potentially double last year “has not materialized,”  WHO Global Malaria Programme director Pedro Alonso said yesterday, UN News reports.
 
And: El Salvador and China have now been declared malaria-free, notes NPR’s Goats and Soda.
 
Global progress is spotty, however, and global efforts have plateaued, Alonso said. He blames complacency and said the report needs to be taken as a wake-up call that malaria is a major crisis.
 
The WHO called for a “massive, urgent” effort to “get the new malaria vaccine into the arms of African children,” The Guardian reports.
 
The Quote: “Is the world going to allow that there is a first malaria vaccine that can save the lives of tens of thousands of African children every year and they’re going to let it sit on a shelf? Or are they going to step up?” Alonso asked.

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