Argentina and Algeria officially free of malaria

Australian Medical Association/AusMed

The World Health Organisation has officially declared Algeria and Argentina to be malaria-free.

Describing it as an important milestone in fighting the mosquito-borne disease, the WHO praised both nations for their commitment to eradicating it.

There are now 38 countries and territories that have been declared free of malaria, which is making somewhat of a comeback globally.

“Algeria has shown the rest of Africa that malaria can be beaten through country leadership, bold action, sound investment and science,” said Dr Matshidiso Moet, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa.

“The rest of the continent can learn from this experience.”

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said both Algeria and Argentina had showed unwavering commitment and perseverance – both by their governments and their people.

“Their success serves as a model for other countries working to end this disease once and for all,” he said.

In 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria worldwide and more than 400,000 malaria-related deaths.

In order for a country to be certified as malaria-free it has to prove it has stopped in-country transmission of the disease for at least three consecutive years. The last cases of indigenous malaria in Algeria and Argentina were reported in 2013 and 2010 respectively.

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