Health worker at Divine Grace Medical Center, Philippines. Photo credit: MSH

OPINION: The pandemic may be interfering with our fight against drug-resistant bacteria. Luckily, the same tactics can beat back both scourges.

 

As health-care systems around the world fight to contain Covid-19, they may be inadvertently opening the door wider to another killer that is just as dangerous.

I’m talking about the spread of pathogens that are resistant to treatment, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The death toll from Covid is staggering, but so is that from antibiotic resistance: Nasty superbugs such as Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, currently kill some 700,000 people globally each year — that’s twice the number of Americans who died of Covid last year. Left unchecked, antibiotic resistance may kill up to 10 million more people yearly and cumulatively cost patients and health systems up to $100 trillion by the year 2050.

 {Photo credit: Modeste B. Gnitona}The women’s group Iréti’mbè and Ifèomontayo in Adja-Ouèrè has increased its income and launched a savings fund to cover the cost of health services for its members.Photo credit: Modeste B. Gnitona

Pour lire cette histoire en français, cliquez ici.Even when healthcare is available, it is not always accessible. In Benin, poverty prevents many women and their children from paying for essential health services.

 {Photo: Raphaël Gnonlonfoun, USAID Integrated Health Services Activity}A coach from Sakété-Ifangni health zone, Plateau, counting the number of active malaria cases in health registers.Photo: Raphaël Gnonlonfoun, USAID Integrated Health Services Activity

When Benin recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 16, 2020, the country’s health authorities understandably pivoted to pandemic preparedness and response activities to protect people from the coronavirus.But the pandemic threatened progress in the fight against malaria. According to the 2018 Benin Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA 2018), the mosquito-borne illness remains the leading cause of mortality among children under five years and of morbidity among adults in Benin, accounting for more than 39 percent of adult medical consultations. Disruptions to primary healthcare and malaria prevention and treatment efforts could have deadly consequences.

Madagascar reported its first cases of COVID-19 in March 2020. It was not long before the outbreak spread throughout multiple regions, including some of the country’s most remote communities. The Government of Madagascar quickly mobilized response activities to minimize the outbreak’s spread and impact on the population, including coordinating activities with the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) ACCESS program, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), and other partners and stakeholders.

A health worker showing the app used during the SMC in the village of Guéné. Photo credit Jocelyn Akakpo

While the rainy season brings welcome relief to farmers in northern Benin, the wet weather also brings an unwelcome guest: mosquitoes. These mosquitoes can spread malaria, a disease that threatens hundreds of thousands of children’s lives across the region.But malaria can be prevented with several interventions, including medications provided during seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC). When the summer rain arrives, health workers supported by USAID through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) treat children with four monthly rounds of SMC.

{Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH}Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH

Originally published in The Hill 

By Marian W. Wentworth and Wade Warren 

On Dec. 14, the United States crossed a grisly milestone of 300,000 lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic. That same week, we saw the first glimmer of light in this long, dark tunnel of a year as frontline health care workers began to receive an effective vaccine. 

{Photo credit: Misa Rahantason/MSH} Photo credit: Misa Rahantason/MSH

Originally published on LinkedIn by MSH President and CEO, Marian W. Wentworth

A health worker takes a blood sample from an XDR-TB patient at Kitgum Hospital in northern Uganda. Photo credit: Diana Tumuhairwe/MSH

Originally published by Global Health NOW

As the COVID-19 scourge intensifies, it may be weakening our battle against tuberculosis—but pooling resources could boost the fight against both diseases.

While human and financial TB resources have been diverted to fight the pandemic, new TB case notifications have dropped by up to 75% in some countries, according to a Global Fund report published in September. In addition, TB service disruptions could lead to an additional 1.4 million deaths through 2025.

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