Malaria

  1. Video content

    Video caption: Hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus: The story so far

    The story of hydroxychloroquine, the anti malarial drug touted by some and dismissed by others.

  2. Coronavirus could impede Africa's malaria fight - WHO

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concerns that Covid-19 might impact negatively on Africa's fight against malaria.

    WHO team leader for malaria Dr Akpaka Kalu told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that anyone exhibiting fever should seek medical care.

    He said that some patients are afraid of seeking treatment during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic yet fever is also a symptom for malaria.

    Quote Message: Malaria is a very dangerous disease. It is so common but it kills.
    Quote Message: If you have fever go and get tested, if it's positive you will be treated for malaria, the medicines are effective.
    Quote Message: It is an individual responsibility to ensure you don't become part of the statistics, part of the dead from malaria."

    Listen to the interview:

    Video content

    Video caption: Concerns have been raised that Covid-19 might hamper the fight against malaria
  3. Are 'malaria-resistant' mosquitoes now a real possibility?

    Video content

    Video caption: A microbe has been discovered which protects mosquitoes from malaria for life

    If mosquitoes become resistant to malaria, it could prevent the disease spreading to humans and save millions of lives.

  4. Malaria cases could double because of Covid-19

    Video content

    Video caption: The WHO is warning that measures to control the virus could risk more malaria deaths

    The WHO is warning that measures to control the virus could risk more malaria deaths.

  5. Malaria deaths could double in Africa - WHO

    Anne Soy

    BBC News, Nairobi

    A girl holding up a sign saying "Malaria kills"
    Image caption: The WHO is concerned malaria mortality levels will return to a position last seen 20 years ago

    The number of deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa could be double the annual rate this year owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

    African countries usually account for over 90% of the more than 400,000 deaths from malaria recorded each year.

    But new analysis by the WHO indicates nearly 760,000 people in the region could die from the mosquito-borne disease.

    The WHO says border closures and travel restrictions imposed to halt the spread of Covid-19 could disrupt the supply of medicine and insecticide-treated nets that help prevent malaria.

    It could lead to a return to malaria mortality levels last seen 20 years ago.

    The UN body is urging countries to increase the distribution of such supplies while they can.

  6. Rwanda deploys drones in malaria fight

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Anopheles stephensi mosquito larva
    Image caption: It is the larva of the Anopheles mosquitoes which are being targeted by the drones

    Rwanda's government has started spraying insecticides in mosquito-breeding sites using drones.

    The head of the malaria division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre told the BBC that the drones would be loaded with 10 litres of an insecticide that kills mosquitoes at their larval stage.

    "The unmanned aerial vehicles are going to support the existing efforts that include mosquito nets and housing sprays to fight anopheles which spread malaria," Aimable Mbituyumuremyi said

    "Now we also want to fight these mosquitoes from their sources. The drones will spray a sort of larvicide, which kills that type of mosquitoes," he added.

    About 3.9 million people were diagnosed with malaria between 2018 and 2019, according to the Rwanda Biomedical Centre.

    The mass spraying of mosquitoes is targeting specific areas with the highest cases and is said to be safe for humans.

    "The drugs which will be sprayed over the marshlands and swamps are verified to be harmless to the people, farms and environment. These substances are produced from bacilli bacteria which are normal in the environment and approved by the World Health Organisation," Dr Mbituyumuremyi said.

    He says the efforts will further reduce infections.

    Malaria cases dropped from 4.8 million in 2017 and the number of deaths dropped from 660 in 2016 to 260 in 2019, according to the centre.

    Rwanda has also been using drones to supply blood to 21 remote clinics.

    A technician launches a drone in Rwanda
    Image caption: Rwanda has been using drones to supply medical care in rural areas
  7. Anti-malaria drones to spray silicon film over Zanzibar fields

    Rice field in Zanzibar
    Image caption: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water that sits on rice fields

    Scientists plan to use drones to spray silicon film over rice fields in Zanzibar to see if it stops the spread of malaria.

    The rice fields collect stagnant water, which is where malaria-carrying mosquitoes lay their eggs.

    The researchers from Radboud University in The Netherlands will monitor whether the film will prevent anopheles mosquitoes' eggs from hatching by blocking the larvae from attaching to the surface of the water.

    The researchers told Reuters news agency that they chose Tanzania's semi-autonomous archipelago to test the idea because of their progressive drone regulations.

    The tests are at an early stage. After the trial, the researchers aim to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals before testing it again across the continent.

  8. 'I invented a malaria detector after my brother died'

    Firaol Belay

    BBC Afaan Oromo

    Torpout Nyarikjor
    Image caption: Torpout Nyarikjor has great ambitions about how he can change lives for the better

    An Ethiopian student who invented an instant malaria detector has told the BBC that investors are willing to back him despite losing out to a 3D printer in a national innovation competition.

    Torpout Nyarikjor, an engineer student at Dilla University in southern Ethiopia, said he was prompted to invent his device after losing his brother to the mosquito-borne disease.

    ‘’When I was young, I witnessed my older brother die of malaria. At the time I felt deeply sad and believed that I could one day stop it, but I didn’t know how,’’ the 24-year-old said.

    Malaria claims the lives of more than 2,500 children each day in Africa, according to the UN children's agency, Unicef.

    Mr Torpout’s device is easy to use – by inserting a finger into it, laser sensors can identify whether the blood is infected or not.

    “Anyone who can read can use the device,” he said.

    This will mean that medication to treat malaria can be taken early, so a patient will be more likely to survive.

    Torpout Nyarikjor's malaria detector
    Image caption: The device checks for blood for malaria instantly

    The new malaria detector, called “Tor”, is about 70% accurate at the moment – and the fourth-year university student is continuing work to make to it foolproof.

    It won the regional level of the innovation competition organised by iCog Labs, a company based in the capital, Addis Ababa, working on artificial intelligence projects.

    But he lost out in the final - and the $3,400 (£2,700) prize money - which he says is a pity as he felt his invention was more of a game changer.

    However he is confident about the future.

    “My dream is to be an employer not employee,” said the young man, who comes from the western city of Gambella.

    He wants to return home to develop other projects involving young people with technology know how – and has great ambitions for how his device will be able to change lives.

  9. Big push for Kenya's malaria vaccine roll-out

    Dayo Yusuf

    BBC Africa Health, Kenya

    Kenya began the roll-out of malaria vaccines with much pomp and ceremony.

    Traditional dancers were there to entertain the dignitaries and parents waiting to get their children vaccinated.

    Traditional dancers at the launch
    People waiting with their children to be vaccinated in Kenya

    At least 3,000 people were in Homa Bay county in western Kenya for the launch.

    Health Minister Sicily Kariuki addressed the gathering, saying the East African nation was excited to be part of the trial and urging parents to ensure their children received all four doses of the vaccine needed to provide protection.

    A child being injected

    The new RTS,S vaccine has been found to prevent malaria cases in four out of 10 children - between the ages of five and 17 months - as well as cut the most severe cases of malaria by a third.

    It works by training the immune system to attack the malaria parasite, which is spread by mosquito bites.

    Kenya aims to vaccinate at least 52 children per month until the end of the trial - that is more than 100,000 children over the next three years.

    A nurse with a vaccine
    Officials organising malaria vaccines in Kenya
  10. Video content

    Video caption: World's first malaria vaccine released

    More than 300,000 children are expected to receive the vaccine over the next three years.

  11. Video content

    Video caption: Could serenading mosquitoes help stop the spread of malaria?

    That annoying buzz we all recognise from summer evenings is actually a love song for a mosquito.