12:33 GMT05 December 2020
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    West Africa's fight to control Ebola is affecting the campaign against malaria, the leading killer in West Africa.

    MOSCOW, December 28 (Sputnik) — West Africa's fight to control Ebola is affecting the campaign against malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that is claiming many thousands more lives than Ebola, reports Associated Press.

    In Gueckedou, near the village where Ebola first started killing people in tropical forests a year ago, medics say they have had to stop pricking fingers on patients to do blood tests for malaria.

    According to Dr. Bernard Nahlen, deputy director of the US President's Malaria Initiative, Guinea has seen a drop in reported malaria cases this year by as much as 40 percent, as the decrease is possibly because people are too scared to go to health facilities.

    "It would be a major failure on the part of everybody involved to have a lot of people die from malaria in the midst of the Ebola epidemic. I would be surprised if there were not an increase in unnecessary malaria deaths in the midst of all this, and a lot of those will be young children," reported Associated Press.

    According to statistics from the World Health Organization, about 1,600 people in Guinea have died from Ebola, while by comparison around 15,000 Guineans died from malaria last year, 14,000 of them children under five, according to Nets for Life Africa, a New York-based charity dedicated to providing insecticide-treated mosquito nets to put over beds, reports AP.

    Malaria is the leading cause of death in children under five in Guinea and, after AIDS, the leading cause of adult deaths, according to Nets for Life.

    Medics’ fear of Ebola stops them from taking blood for malaria tests, as both the diseases have similar symptoms, including fever, dizziness, head and muscle aches. People suffering from malaria fear being quarantined in Ebola treatment centers and health centers, which not equipped to treat Ebola, are turning away patients with Ebola-like symptoms, as told by AP. 


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    Tags:
    malaria, disease, civilian deaths, Ebola virus disease (EVD), World Health Organization (WHO), Guinea
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