The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the African archipelago nation of Cabo Verde to be malaria-free.
Cabo Verde is the third country in the WHO’s African region to receive the certification, following Mauritius and Algeria, which were certified in 1973 and 2019 respectively.
The announcement brings the number of countries and territories that have been certified malaria-free to 44 (43 countries and one territory).
The organisation stated that consequently, “travellers from non-malaria-endemic regions can now travel to the islands … without fear of local malaria infections, and the potential inconvenience of preventative treatment measures”.
The WHO added that “this has the potential to attract more visitors and boost socio-economic activities” in Cabo Verde, a country where “tourism accounts for approximately 25% of GDP (gross domestic product)”.
“I salute the government and people of Cabo Verde for their unwavering commitment and resilience in their journey to eliminating malaria,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO. “WHO’s certification of Cabo Verde being malaria-free is testament to the power of strategic public health planning, collaboration, and sustained effort to protect and promote health.”
A report by the African Union published last year highlighted some of the ongoing challenges of eliminating malaria across the continent. The intergovernmental organisation hopes to eliminate the disease in Africa by 2030.