CNA Staff, Apr 28, 2020 / 13:25 pm
A Catholic humanitarian agency warned that the coronavirus pandemic may lead to greater cases of malaria-related deaths.
Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), stressed this week the importance of tackling both COVID-19 and malaria - an infectious disease transmitted by certain mosquitoes.
"Like malaria, this disease respects no boundaries or borders. The coronavirus has tremendous destructive potential. But we cannot drop our guard on malaria in our fight against the virus. In fact, the danger of coronavirus will be greatly exacerbated if we let it threaten our progress in tackling malaria," Callahan wrote in an op-ed published April 28.
Between 2000 and 2015, every malaria-affected region succeeded in reducing the number of illnesses and deaths related to malaria, Callahan said. In 2019, malaria prevention and treatment projects of CRS reached 86 million people in 12 countries, he said, noting that there has been a particular focus on children and pregnant women.
Callahan said the timing of the coronavirus spread in areas of West and Central Africa coincides with the high transmission season for malaria, when, between July and October, seasonal rains increase the number of mosquitos.