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Coronavirus could impede Africa's malaria fight - WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concerns that Covid-19 might impact negatively on Africa's fight against malaria.

WHO team leader for malaria Dr Akpaka Kalu told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that anyone exhibiting fever should seek medical care.

He said that some patients are afraid of seeking treatment during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic yet fever is also a symptom for malaria.

Malaria is a very dangerous disease. It is so common but it kills.

If you have fever go and get tested, if it's positive you will be treated for malaria, the medicines are effective.

It is an individual responsibility to ensure you don't become part of the statistics, part of the dead from malaria."

Listen to the interview:

Concerns have been raised that Covid-19 might hamper the fight against malaria

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Malaria deaths could double in Africa - WHO

Anne Soy

BBC News, Nairobi

A girl holding up a sign saying "Malaria kills"
Getty Images
The WHO is concerned malaria mortality levels will return to a position last seen 20 years ago

The number of deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa could be double the annual rate this year owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

African countries usually account for over 90% of the more than 400,000 deaths from malaria recorded each year.

But new analysis by the WHO indicates nearly 760,000 people in the region could die from the mosquito-borne disease.

The WHO says border closures and travel restrictions imposed to halt the spread of Covid-19 could disrupt the supply of medicine and insecticide-treated nets that help prevent malaria.

It could lead to a return to malaria mortality levels last seen 20 years ago.

The UN body is urging countries to increase the distribution of such supplies while they can.