Fighting malaria is especially important now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since fever is the hallmark of both diseases, malaria patients may mistakenly believe they have COVID-19 and choose to self isolate, delaying essential medical treatment.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Malaria
While the world is occupied with the COVID-19 pandemic, we must keep fighting malaria. Preventing malaria is especially important now, as experts warn that malaria risk may rise during this period (WHO.com). Despite the challenges posed by lockdowns and limited medical equipment and resources, it is crucial that governments and international organizations continue to implement mosquito control measures, and provide prophylactic medication to high-risk populations such as pregnant women. People living in malaria endemic countries can also take steps to reduce the risk of contracting the disease - watch our video below for four simple tips to keep mosquitoes at bay.
How can you fight Malaria at home?
Spending more time at home is a good opportunity to make it safer from mosquitoes.
Here are four simple things you can do:
Use Bed nets. Bed nets are very effective since they block mosquitoes from biting, and if treated with insecticide, also kill them. Use your bed net even if it has holes - it's better than nothing, though of course it’s better to repair the holes (see: Malaria Journal article from 2017).
Put screens on windows. Screening windows and closing doors will keep mosquitos out of the house and protect your family during the early evening hours when you are still up and about (see: SciDev article from 2019).
Treat water bodies around your house. If you are allowed to go out, cover or dry water bodies – including puddles (Anopheles mosquitoes can breed in puddles not much bigger than the palm of your hand). If you cannot dry them, use larvicide or even simple dish soap or vegetable oil (see: gov.mb.ca). Typically, larvae take just over a week to mature, so it is enough to treat the puddles once a week. However, if using oil, make sure that it covers the whole water body; this youtube video will show you how.
Use mosquito repellents and wear long sleeves. Simple things can make a big difference!
Do you have any other ideas? We’d love to hear from you!