The South African government on Saturday marked the World Malaria Day by vowing to wipe out the scourge while fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today we commemorate World Malaria Day,” the country’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement, noting that South Africa supports the worldwide campaign, “Zero Malaria Starts With Me.”
The World Malaria Day is an international observance commemorated every year on April 25 and recognizes global efforts to battle against malaria.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set 2030 as the year for malaria elimination.
“We are mindful that while we put our efforts in fighting the COVID-19, we dare not lose sight of our determination to fight against malaria,” Mkhize said.
The WHO has called for continued efforts to minimize disruptions to malaria prevention and treatment services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Failure to do this could undo the strides that have already been achieved and lead to doubling of malaria cases this year compared with 2018, according to WHO modeling analysis.
The minister said many anti-coronavirus measures like community screening and testing were drawn from the campaign against malaria.
Mkhize also said that South Africa’s coronavirus cases have reached 4,362, with 86 related deaths, by Saturday.
The country has conducted more than 161,000 coronavirus tests so far, Mkhize added. Enditem