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African malaria deaths set to dwarf covid-19 fatalities as pandemic hits control efforts, WHO warns

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4711 (Published 02 December 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4711

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  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal, Canada

Excess malaria deaths caused by pandemic driven shortfalls in prevention and treatment efforts will probably dwarf direct deaths from covid-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization has warned.

Progress against malaria—dramatic in the first decade of this century—had already stalled since 2016 as foreign donors drifted away. But 2020 is likely to be the first year in decades to see an increase in deaths, WHO warned in its 2020 World Malaria Report.1

About 1.5 billion malaria cases and 7.6 million deaths have been averted since 2000, WHO estimates. But annual case numbers in sub-Saharan Africa have been unchanged since 2016 at about 230 million, and this year the region will fall far short of milestones …

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