COVID-19 crisis has hampered fight against malaria, warns German development minister

Speaking on World Malaria Day on April 25, 2021, the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller, warned that preventing the spread of malaria has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and that more attention is needed to fight malaria.

Müller noted that malaria deaths in 2020 had increased by 100,000 compared to previous years’ rates. The main drivers for this increase included the shift of essential medical resources and healthcare workers to the fight against COVID-19 and disruptions in supply chains, said Müller.

The number of malaria patients receiving treatment decreased in 2020 by 60% in Asia and by 15% in Africa since the beginning of the pandemic. Malaria infections are often fatal, especially for children, but can be prevented and treated by mosquito nets, pesticides, and drugs. However, access to these resources has been limited due to supply shortfalls caused by the ongoing pandemic.

In recognition of the pandemic’s disruption of malaria treatment, the German government channeled an additional €140 million (US$170 million) to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2021.

News article – Deutsche Welle (in German)

Press release – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)