Giving Compass' Take:

• An article at the United Nations Foundation covers the work of women activists around the globe who are maintaining progress in addressing malaria during COVID.

• How has COVID-19 stifled progress in treating a variety of other global diseases? How can we learn from these frontline workers and support relief efforts for communities suffering from other diseases, such as malaria, during COVID? 

• Read more about the slow-down in progress towards treating other infectious diseases like malaria during COVID.

Malaria affects the lives of Ecuadorian women in many ways. Now the pandemic is reversing progress against the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

Around the world, malaria during pregnancy claims 10,000 maternal deaths each year and up to 200,000 newborn deaths.

The COVID-19 pandemic also continues to threaten the health of vulnerable populations: Existing prevention and treatment programs against other diseases, like malaria, are being disrupted. This could mean up to 700,000 more deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa alone — in just one year.

Olga Pitiur, a midwife, works to ensure that doesn’t happen in Ecuador. Olga works with the Ministry of Health to strengthen and expand health coverage across the country, particularly in rural and hard-to-reach areas, improving access to quick malaria diagnosis and treatment to significantly reduce the malaria burden on women and children.

“I help mothers have healthy babies. Being malaria-free would give the pregnant women I work with the chance to give birth safely and live a healthy life in our community,” she says. “Every time I see a pregnant woman, I encourage her to sleep under a mosquito bed net and I refer her to the health center so she can get screened and treated if needed. I always hope that one day, those children will become nurses or doctors and will lead and take care of our community.”

Ecuadorians, corporate partners, and UN agencies are stepping up to ensure that progress is protected — and that we create a better world for the next generation, where everyone can get the health care they need. That’s why it’s vital we work together across countries, communities, and sectors to defeat new challenges like COVID-19, as well as age-old challenges like malaria.

Read the full article about fighting malaria during COVID at United Nations Foundation.