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WHO To Declare Six African Countries Malaria-Free2 min read

WHO To Declare Six African Countries Malaria-Free<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">2</span> min read</span>

Regional Malaria Elimination Focal Point of the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa, Dr. Ebenezer Baba, has announced that some six countries within the WHO African region are likely to be certified as malaria-free.

He said the countries have recorded a significant decline in the occurrence of malaria in the last 10 years, owing to sustained malaria elimination efforts. The countries, he said, include Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, Eswatini, Sao Tome and Principe, and South Africa.

“Over the last few years, WHO and its partners have gone through a series of assessments to look at the likelihood of attaining malaria-free status and have identified 25 countries with high prospects. Among those 25 countries are six within sub-Saharan Africa within the WHO African region. To be more precise, these include countries such as Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, Eswatini, Sao Tome and Principe, and South Africa. Pertinent to note that among the 25 countries, we’ve had a significant decline of up to 82% over the last 10 years in the incidence of malaria, which is highly promising results.”

Dr. Baba who was addressing a virtual summit organised by the African Media Malaria Research Network, AMMREN, to commemorate this year’s World Mosquito Day, singled out Algeria for maintaining its malaria-free status in the last couple of years. He also commended Cape Verde for interrupting local malaria transmission in that country for four consecutive years. Dr. Baba urged other countries to emulate.

“I am pleased to say that Algeria, which played a significant role in a lot of the science in what we know about the vector and malaria, was certified malaria-free in 2019, and it continues to sustain that free status.”

He said eliminating malaria calls for multi-stakeholder collaboration, especially from the media, to promote behavioural change among the populace at whom interventions are targeted.

Dr. Baba also recommended sustaining institutional capacities of agencies driving the malaria elimination agenda on the continent.

World Mosquito Day is observed annually on August 20 to commemorate Sir Ronald Ross, a British doctor who demonstrated the link between mosquitoes and malaria transmission in 1897.

By Rachel Kakraba

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