Bisi was 7 months pregnant and feared she had been infected by the malaria disease. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, she no longer had access to Long Lasting Insecticide Nets and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) from malaria interventions in her community and could not protect herself from the dangers of malaria during pregnancy as the health systems had adapted in response to the coronavirus pandemic and malaria interventions which had provided her with control measures had reduced drastically. Unable to visit health centres due to restrictions in public transportation and low financial status, Bisi wondered how to protect herself and her unborn child from malaria infections during COVID-19.
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a life-threatening disease and the cause of many deaths worldwide, where most cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. The malaria infection is transmitted from person to person through the Anopheles mosquito, and pregnant women and children under 5 years of age are the most vulnerable groups affected by malaria.
COVID19 and Malaria
Since the COVID19 pandemic, malaria responses have been affected worldwide. As pressure has been put on medical centres and personnel to control the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, there has been the suspension of malaria -prevention campaigns like the distribution of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) in many African countries. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic does not prevent other deadly diseases like malaria disease from infecting millions of people, especially in Sub-saharan Africa. Suspending malaria interventions will leave the vulnerable population at great risk of malaria infection, especially pregnant women and children under- five years of age. Deaths due to malaria and its comorbidities, however, must continue to be prevented.