COVID-19 and Malaria

While taking measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, it is essential that other killer diseases, such as malaria, are not ignored. It is known, from the recent Ebola outbreak in west Africa, that a sudden increased demand on fragile health services can lead to substantial increases in morbidity and mortality from other diseases, including malaria.

To complement the recent guidance from WHO GMP, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria (RBM) Social Behaviour Change (SBC) Working Group has developed interim guidance for malaria SBC in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is recognized that during this unprecedented time, malaria remains an issue in malaria affected countries and in the current context, community members and health workers may face additional challenges that significantly impact the health system. To this end, approaches and systems should be supported to deliver malaria services among communities, households, and individuals.

The PAHO Regional Malaria Program is aware of the imminent negative impact that the present COVID-19 pandemic is causing in the countries and their health systems, and consequently, in the fight against malaria in the countries of the Americas; considers that it is essential to guide national authorities; and draws attention to the main measures to be taken to maintain the continuity of actions against malaria, while protecting the health of healthcare workers and in line with national provisions for response to COVID-19. Malaria-specific guidance on the response to COVID-19 has been developed by WHO1 and is the main reference for this document.