Deaths from HIV, TB & Malaria Could Double in 12-months
I’ve been waiting for this assessment from a high level source and here it is, from the Global Fund.
Aside from the direct toll of COVID-19, which could be catastrophic in the most vulnerable countries, estimates suggest deaths from HIV, TB and malaria could as much as double if systems for health are overwhelmed, treatment and prevention programs are disrupted, and resources are diverted.
Globally, that means the annual death toll from HIV, TB and malaria could be set back to levels not seen since the peak of the epidemics, wiping out nearly two decades of progress in the worst-hit regions.
From the beginning of this pandemic, I’ve had this gnawing feeling that all the strides that have been made in recent years will be profoundly affected by COVID-19 – even in countries that have seen very little infection.
Not only that but conversations I’ve had with colleagues in Zambia and Tanzania this week that have highlighted other serious problems too – like teen pregnancy and early marriage that have resulted from children being away from their parents and out of their normal routine.
Sometimes literally – for example, when schools closed – parents have sent their children to their villages where freedom and boredom led to sexual experimentation and then to pregnancy and STIs. Also, girls being ‘sold’ into marriage to make-up household income that had reached breaking point. I have not got these examples from dry reports, but from conversations with people who know children and families affected by these very issues.