Sunday, 26 May, 2024
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Africa battles triple burden of malaria/cholera/measles

South Africa is not the only country struggling with an escalation in malaria cases: the same is happening in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and parts of East Africa because of climate change-induced flooding

This is according to Dr Chris van Straten, a global health adviser at International SOS, a health and security service firm.

Dr Anita Soni, co-ordinating doctor for medical assistance at International SOS, said despite malaria being responsible for more than half a million deaths in Africa, it was “preventable and curable, especially with early diagnosis and treatment”.

Cholera has also been linked to climate change, spreading through Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and the Horn of Africa, where Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said the bacterial disease is “occurring with increasing frequency, and lasting for longer, across Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia”.

It has already claimed 50 lives in South Africa, reports News24, mostly in the Hammanskraal area, while there have been outbreaks of measles across the country.

Van Straten said unless detection and mitigation strategies were effectively implemented, potentially deadly infectious diseases would escalate.

Climate change was one of the main factors for such disease outbreaks particularly in countries with fragile health services sectors, he added, with warmer temperatures helping to accelerate the spread of disease-carrying vectors.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are an estimated 1.3m to 4m cholera cases in Africa annually, with between 21 000 and 143 000 deaths.

Van Straten said that for measles, the main strategy was vaccinating as many people as possible.

“WHO estimates that in 2021, there were around 128 000 measles deaths globally, mostly of unvaccinated children under five,” he added.

 

News24 article – https://www.news24.com/news24/africa/news/sa-struggling-with-the-rest-of-africa-to-contain-malaria-cholera-and-measles-20230719 (Restricted access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Leading health journals plead for climate change help in Africa

 

The dire consequences of climate change on SA’s health

 

Climate change will see malaria moving to tropical highlands

 

 

 

 

 

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