The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Algeria and Argentina as completely malaria-free states on Wednesday. Both countries have reached a milestone in the grave struggle against deadly mosquito-borne disease, it added.
More than 38 countries and territories were declared free of the disease, WHO said.
Algeria has proved and demonstrated to Africa how country leadership, rapid action, essential investment, and science can lead to expelling the disease from the country. The WHO’s regional director for Africa said that every continent should learn from this experience.
Malaria is a potentially fatal disease that cases by parasites and transmits through the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes. Though the disease is totally curable and treatable also. In 2017, the WHO reported nearly 219 million cases of malaria and more than 400,000 deaths due to the disease.
To get certified as a malaria-free country, it has to prove that transmission of malaria has completely stopped in the country for three years. Algeria and Argentina reported the last cases of malaria in 2013 and 2010 respectively.
Considering Africa, Algeria is just the second country certified as malaria-free, where the parasite was founded by Dr. Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran in 1880. Mauritius was the first from the rest of the country to be known as malaria-free in 1973.
Most of the deaths of malaria have been in Africa, where the WHO recently announced a wide-reaching pilot program to begin providing vaccines for nearly 360,000 children every year in three countries. The WHO says through the vaccine it can offer partial protection for malaria, cited by clinical trials vaccine prevents about four out of 10 malaria cases.