El Salvador becomes “Malaria-free Country”

What is the news?

El Salvador becomes the first Malaria-free country in Central America and the third in America.  It received a Malaria-free certificate from the World Health Organization (WHO).

About Malaria:

  • Malaria is a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. It is transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • Types: There are five kinds of malarial parasites — Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax (the commonest ones), Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium knowlesi.

How Malaria Free Country Status is granted?

Certification of malaria elimination is the official recognition of Malaria free status by WHO. It depends upon the following conditions:

  • When it is proved that the local transmission chain of the disease is disrupted nationwide for at least three consecutive years.
  • After that, A fully functional surveillance and response system to prevent re-establishment transmission shall be in place.

In the last decade, 9 countries across the world were declared malaria-free by WHO. The countries are Algeria; Argentina; Morocco; Turkmenistan; Armenia; Maldives; Sri Lanka; Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Malaria Cases:

  • Average Malaria Cases Every Year: Over 200 million cases of malaria are reported across the world every year. More than 400,000 people die of this disease.
  • Malaria cases in 2019: In 2019, 229 million cases of malaria and over 4 lakh deaths from the were recorded across the world. An astounding 94% of these cases and deaths were in the African Region.
  • India: In India, malaria infections fell by 14.4 million between 2000 and 2019, the largest reduction in South-East Asia. However, in 2019, the country accounted for about 86% of all malaria deaths in the region.

Initiatives:

  • E-2020 Initiative: It was launched by WHO. Under this initiative, WHO is working with 21 countries to scale up efforts to achieve elimination within the next few years. The countries were identified by WHO in 2016 as having the potential to become malaria-free by 2020.
  • Malaria Elimination Research Alliance-India (MERA-India): It was launched by the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR). It is a conglomeration of partners working on malaria control. The aim is to harness and reinforce research in a coordinated way in order to achieve a tangible impact on malaria elimination.
  • High Burden to High Impact (HBHI): It was launched by WHO in 11 high malaria burden countries including India. The initiative has four key response elements: (i) Political will to reduce malaria deaths (ii) Strategic information to drive impact (iii) Better guidance, policies, and strategies, and (iv) A coordinated national malaria response.
    • In India, the Implementation of the HBHI initiative started in four states i.e. West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh in July 2019.

Source: Down To Earth

 

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