A press release from WHO certifies Algeria and Argentina to be free from Malaria. This certification from WHO is granted after a country controls the indigenous transmission of any disease for at least 3 years in a row.
Malaria is spread through the bite of a mosquito. It doesn’t sound like a lethal disease but malaria is one of the top killers of the world. As per an estimate, it has 219 million cases reported in 2017 alone with over 400 000 deaths. Children under 5 years of age are a common target of malaria.
After Mauritius, Algeria is the second African country that is officially malaria-free. Before that Mauritius attained this status in 1973. The last reported case of malaria in Algeria was in 2013.
On the other side, Argentina is the second American region country to have this certification after Paraguay, 45 years apart. The last case of malaria in Argentina was reported in 2010.
The historical events
In both these countries, malaria has a long history spread over hundreds of years. Over the last decade, the improved health facilities and disease management helped to get control over its widespread. Every possible case of malaria was rapidly identified and treated.
It was a matter of long-term commitment and saving people from this disease, in both countries, as states the Director-General WHO. He also thinks this success is a role model for other counties who are working to get rid of this disease.
The struggle of Algeria to be Malaria-free
In 1880, a French physician Dr. Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran in Algeria discovered malaria. Reaching to 1960’s it was one of the biggest health concerns of the country that was affecting the health of many. As per the reported case, there were more than 80,000 cases every year.
The success of Algeria to be malaria free required a lot more than just good planning. It paid attention to the training of health workers, diagnostic advancements, better treatment facilities and rapid response to all subsequent outbreaks. Together all these factors lead to zero malaria cases in Algeria.
Algeria was the first country where this parasitic disease was first seen. The same country being malaria free is a big milestone towards health progressions overall. Algeria can now shoe the rest of Africa that malaria can be defeated with a bold action plan.
Argentina’s take on eradicating malaria
Back in the 1970s, Argentina set out ways to eliminate malaria from the country. Some major elements of its approach were workers training, diagnostic accuracy and effectively responding to every incident.
It also made cross border collaborations with Government of Bolivia in 2000 and 2001 for spraying thousands of the houses at border area for malaria free.
The last indigenous case of malaria in Argentina was reported in 2010 and no other case has been reported till the date.
The Director-General World Health Organization presented the certificates to Argentina and Algeria in the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly.
The list of malaria-free countries worldwide is available online at WHO’s website that now includes Algeria and Argentina in it. Click here to view it.