Algeria and Argentina certified malaria-free by WHO
Algeria and Argentina have been officially recognized by WHO as malaria-free. The certification is granted when a country proves that it has interrupted indigenous transmission of the disease for at least 3 consecutive years.
Contracted through the bite of an infected mosquito, malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, with an estimated 219 million cases and over 400 000 malaria-related deaths in 2017. Approximately 60% of fatalities are among children aged under 5 years.
Algeria is the second country in the WHO African Region to be officially recognized as malaria-free, after Mauritius, which was certified in 1973. Argentina is the second country in the WHO Region of the Americas to be certified in 45 years, after Paraguay in June 2018.
Algeria and Argentina reported their last cases of indigenous malaria in 2013 and 2010 respectively.
An ‘unwavering commitment’
“Algeria and Argentina have eliminated malaria thanks to the unwavering commitment and perseverance of the people and leaders of both countries,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Their success serves as a model for other countries working to end this disease once and for all.”
Stamping out malaria in Algeria
Algeria’s subsequent success in beating the disease can be attributed primarily to a well-trained health workforce, the provision of malaria diagnosis and treatment through universal health care, and a rapid response to disease outbreaks. Together, these factors enabled the country to reach – and maintain – zero malaria cases.
“Algeria is where the malaria parasite was first discovered in humans almost a century and a half ago, and that was a significant milestone in responding to the disease,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Now Algeria has shown the rest of Africa that malaria can be beaten through country leadership, bold action, sound investment and science. The rest of the continent can learn from this experience.”
Argentina’s road to elimination
Cross-border collaboration was also critical. Between 2000 and 2011, Argentina worked closely with the Government of Bolivia to spray more than 22 000 homes in border areas and conduct widespread malaria testing.
“Argentina reported the last indigenous case in 2010 and has demonstrated the commitment, the capacity within its health, laboratory and surveillance systems, and the necessary financing to prevent the re-establishment of malaria within the country,” said Dr Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization, WHO Regional Office for the Americas. “I am sure that Argentina will serve as an inspiration and as an example for other countries of the Americas to achieve the elimination of malaria in the coming years.”
The certificates were presented by the WHO Director-General to representatives from Algeria and Argentina on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly.
Epidemiological Trend of Malaria in Nepal (2012/13-2017/18)
Defeating malaria demands high-impact, country-led and owned approaches
Malaria vaccine pilot launched in Malawi
World Malaria Day 2019 ”Zero malaria starts with me”
The World Malaria Report 2018
Malaria Micro Stratification Report 2018