South Sudan’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) say at least 100 people died of malaria in the country between January and July.
In a joint report released on Sunday, the two institutions said morbidity and mortality trends in the Protection of Civilians Sites across the country, as of July, indicated rampant deaths due to malaria infections.
“Mortality surveillance in Bentiu PoC of Unity indicated that a higher number of deaths have been reported in 2020 compared to 2019,” reads the report.
“Malaria cases have increased in Bentiu PoC; Juba PoC, Malakal PoC and Wau PoC and [the disease] is the top cause of morbidity in Bentiu PoC and Juba PoC”.”
Dr Wamala Joseph Francis, WHO’s Country Preparedness and International Health Regulation Officer, said the report indicated malaria had surpassed acute respiratory infections (ARI) as the top cause of morbidity in the area.
“Malaria accounts for 42 per cent of OPD consultations representing a 45 per cent increase from week 27 of June, 2020,” he said.
“This proportion may be affected by the current triage of patients due to Covid-19. ARI proportional morbidity in 2020 is lower compared to the corresponding period of 2019.”
According to the report, cases of malaria are mainly attributed to the continued flooding in the country due to heavy rains.
Dr. Wamala said the cases in Malakal PoC of Unity State had increased by 125 per cent since week 26 of June, this being an abnormal percentage.
Malaria remains endemic throughout the country and is a major public health issue, particularly among children under five years of age and pregnant women.
According to the World Malaria Report of 2017, 3,483 deaths were recorded in South Sudan that year out of over 1.4 million reported cases.