Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Malaria Prevention in Africa: Evidence from COVID-19 Health Services Disruption Survey

Binyam Tariku Seboka*, Samuel Hailegebreal, Robel Hussen Kabthymer, Helen Ali, Delelegn Emwodew Yehualashet, Abel Desalegn Demeke and Endris Seid Amede

Background: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption in healthcare systems throughout the world. This paper evaluated COVID-19’s impact on malaria-related health services in Africa. Hence, measuring the disruption on malaria preventive and curative programs is essential for effective counteracts and future planning.

Methods: The research used data from the 2020 Premise COVID-19 Health Services Disruption Survey. Data were collected from 14,615 respondents to measure malaria related prevention and curative service utilizations in 20 African countries. In the analysis, other than descriptive statics and Chi-square test. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was employed to compare change in the Insecticide-Treated Net (ITN) ownership rating before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, McNemar’s test was used to assess change in malaria testing.

Results: Household ITN ownership rating declined significantly after the onset of the pandemic in march 2020 compared to the previous ownership or purchase rating before the COVID-19 onset. The COVID-29 pandemic had not impacted malaria testing utilization significantly. However, a drop in healthcare utilization was ascribed to fear of acquiring COVID-19 at health facilities, limited access due to movement restrictions, and dedication of health facilities as COVID-19 treatment centres.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic had a significantly negative effect on the prevention of malaria in Africa, which is evident by a decline of interventions during the pandemic. Interventions and strategies aimed at reducing and controlling burden of malaria in Africa, mainly in the malaria endemic settings should give attention to lessen the disruption and integrate this with pandemic response. It is critical for these services to continue during and after the epidemic.

Published Date: 2021-06-30; Received Date: 2021-03-10