Africa’s Third Wave: The Impact of COVID-19 in Uganda and Zambia
By Haley Hauk-Landon, Communications Intern, Malaria Partners International
“Africa is in the midst of a full blown third wave. The sobering trajectory of surging cases should rouse everyone into urgent action.” — Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Director for Africa
According to WHO, Africa’s third wave of COVID-19 rose the continent’s total number of cases to 6,074,000. WHO reports 178,748 total cases in Zambia and 87,756 total cases in Uganda. As Dr. Matshidiso Moeti suggests, the surge in COVID cases demands attention. Malaria Partners Zambia (MPZ) and Rotarian Malaria Partners Uganda (RMPU) are tasked with balancing these demands with their efforts to eradicate malaria.
COVID impacts malaria by limiting travel and supplies for community health workers (CHWs), confusing the symptoms of COVID and malaria, and delaying diagnosis and treatment. In general, the rising COVID cases in Africa limit the attention and resources put towards malaria. Because of this, MPZ and RMPU altered their operations and relied on the help of trained CHWs for the organizations to maintain progress. Throughout the third wave, CHWs will work with the country’s health department, receive supplies from RMPU and educate the community through radio programming and print advertising.
Malaria Partners International (MPI) continues to support small grant projects and their initiatives and share their malaria prevention messages internationally. The organizations’ mission to eradicate malaria remains a priority despite the new challenges COVID presents.
“COVID has increased the cost of malaria elimination programs in Africa due to the added expense of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to all CHWs,” said MPI Executive Director, Jenny Andrews. “In addition to that, worldwide supply chain challenges have made it difficult to maintain adequate supplies of Rapid Diagnostic Tests and malaria medications. If you would like to support our ongoing effort to eliminate malaria in Africa, a financial contribution to our work would be most appreciated.”
On September 8th, 2023, the Rotary International President Gordon McInally announced that Rotary and its partners World Vision and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be implementing the Rotary Healthy Communities Challenge which will build on the successes of the Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia project and scale that work to 3 other countries.
Malaria Partners West Africa has been engaging with PATH and The Gambia’s Ministry of Health and National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) to design a new initiative aimed at strengthening community case-based surveillance for malaria in the North Bank Regions of The Gambia.
By Peter Mubanga Ng’andu – Rotaract Club of Lusaka
As a Project Management & M&E professional, I believe in data driven interventions and that’s why when an opportunity to volunteer in Data Quality Audits (DQA) emerged, I gladly took it in the spirit of service above self.