We are living in an unprecedent and unpredictable time as the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over our daily lives. Although COVID-19 is a threat to our communities, Malaria is still a great threat and will continue to be if nothing is done. On this World Malaria Day, we must remember that people, especially children die every day of this preventable and treatable disease.
During this COVID-19 pandemic period, malaria must not be forgotten. In this season we must remember our goal to better treat, control and ultimately eliminate malaria. As researchers, we continue to analyse current research findings, review previous research findings as we develop new research ideas by keeping our focus on the greater challenges that our communities face such as malaria.
With healthcare efforts being focused on COVID-19, authorities should ensure malaria tests and medicines are made available to all those living in malaria endemic areas, so as to ensure rapid identification, treatment and case management.
During this period, we must remain alert so as to avoid an increase in malaria-related deaths.
As the long rains near, we ask you to not forget malaria, and to take precautions to protect yourself and your family. Ensure you always sleep under a net, if you spend time outdoors in the evenings, wear clothing with long sleeves and trousers, or use mosquito repellents to prevent mosquito bites. If you can, get rid of water puddles and stagnant water where mosquitoes may breed by filling these with sand or soil.
Do not confuse COVID-19 with malaria. COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms, please contact the MOH hotline 719 or dial *719#. Malaria causes fever, shivers, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. It is important to remember that even those with COVID-19 may also have malaria.
When presented with any of these symptoms ensure you get a malaria test done to obtain the right treatment for your illness. Delaying malaria treatment can be deadly. When on treatment complete all doses of your malaria medication as directed by your doctor.
Zero malaria starts with me, it starts with you, it starts with us.
This blog was written by a team of researchers based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme. The team included Marta Maia, Francis Ndungu, Abdirahman Abdi, Melissa Kapulu, Samuel Akech and Isabella Oyier.