Climate change increasing malaria transmission – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has lamented that more people are coming down with malaria despite expanding access to preventive medication for the disease.

In its 2023 World Malaria Report, the global health agency, revealed that 249 million new malaria cases were recorded in 2022, an increase of two million from 2021 and exceeding the pre-pandemic level of 233 million in 2016.

The report which delved into the link between climate change and malaria highlighted the behavioural changes and increased survival rates of the Anopheles mosquito through rising temperature, humidity, and rainfall.

According to the report, extreme weather events, such as heat waves and flooding, can also directly impact transmission and the disease burden.

While climate change posed a major risk, WHO also underscored the need to acknowledge a multitude of other threats.

The WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said the development is primarily due to COVID-19-induced public health disruptions, humanitarian crises, drug and insecticide resistance, and global warming impacts.

The WHO also stated that climate variability can have indirect effects on malaria trends, due to factors such as reduced access to essential malaria services and disruptions to the supply chain of insecticide-treated nets, medicines, and vaccines.

It further noted that climate change-related population displacement could also lead to increased malaria cases as individuals without immunity migrate to endemic areas.

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