Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Mkhize warns of dangers of contracting malaria

According to the latest available data from the World Health Organization, 228 million malaria cases were confirmed globally in 2018 of which 405,000 people died.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addresses a media briefing on 13 July 2020. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - As the Southern African Development Community (SADC) marks Malaria Day, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned South Africans of the dangers of contracting malaria, especially with many expected to travel home for the festive season.

According to the latest available data from the World Health Organization, 228 million malaria cases were confirmed globally in 2018 of which 405,000 people died.

Malaria has been declared an epidemic in some parts of Africa, but the ambitious aim of the SADC region is to eliminate the disease by 2023.

“The new normal requires that we apply our minds and adjust to COVID-19 which is wreaking havoc in our communities and economy in ways that malaria never has. Let us, therefore, be mindful and take precautionary measures with both pandemics to find a balance and mitigation measures accordingly,” said Mkhize.

The world has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and amid it all, Mkhize has warned that it was important that the continent also continued to focus on the impact of malaria.

"Malaria symptoms may very well mimic COVID-19 symptoms. It is therefore imperative that when one experiences flu-like symptoms that one seeks medical attention as soon as possible."

The SADC region aims to eliminate malaria by 2023, leaving just three years left to meet this ambitious goal.

In 2016, the SADC region racked up 47 million cases in a population of 275 million people.

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