Some good news in the world of infectious diseases: Algeria and Argentina have been officially recognised by the World Health Organization as malaria-free. Travellers to these countries have the stress of following malaria precautions eliminated.
Algeria is the second country in the WHO African Region to be officially recognised as malaria-free ─ Mauritius was certified in 1973. To be certified, a country must be able to prove that it has interrupted indigenous transmission of the disease for at least three consecutive years.
“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.”
Algeria’s road to certification involved a well-trained health workforce, the provision of malaria diagnosis and treatment through universal healthcare, and a rapid response to disease outbreaks. Argentina achieved zero malaria cases by training health workers to spray homes with insecticides, diagnosing the disease through microscopy, and effectively responding to cases in the community, as well as collaborating with the Government of Bolivia to spray more than 22,000 homes in border areas and conduct widespread malaria testing.
Globally, 38 countries and territories have now been declared malaria-free and with access to better knowledge and treatment and prevention methods hopefully more and more countries can eliminate the disease.