Burundi’s YouTube star dies of malaria aged six

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A six-year-old YouTube star known in Burundi for his popular comedy sketches has died of malaria, his manager says.

Darcy Irakoze, known as Kacaman, was a primary school pupil who performed online and in theatres.

He was diagnosed with malaria on Wednesday and died the next day.

Malaria has killed over 1,800 people in Burundi this year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than five million cases have been recorded in the country since January.

The disease is one of the main killers of children in Africa, where it claims the lives of more than 2,500 children each day, according to the UN children’s agency, Unicef.

Darcy last performed on 2 August with Kigingi, a popular Burundian comedian, and was scheduled to perform in another comedy event organised by Kigingi.

Kigingi told the BBC that the death was a great loss personally and for Burundi’s entertainment industry.

Darcy’s death has sparked more debate on the high number of malaria cases in the country this year.

The death toll for malaria in Burundi is rivalling the Ebola outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the WHO.

Malaria cases have reached epidemic proportions, the organisation said in a report that has been disputed by the Burundian government.

Health Minister Thaddée Ndikumana told journalists that the figures were lower – 4.3 million recorded cases, with 1,400 deaths this year.

He said this was a decrease since 2017, which saw 4.9 million malaria cases and 4,300 deaths.

The WHO recorded nearly 220 million cases of the illness in 2017, with an estimated 435,000 deaths worldwide. More than 90% of malaria cases and deaths were in Africa.

First published 09.08.19: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-49293782

 

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