The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday certified Paraguay as having eliminated malaria from their country, they are now the first country in the Americas to be granted this status since Cuba in 1973.
“It gives me great pleasure today to certify that Paraguay is officially free of malaria,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, in a recorded statement. “Success stories like Paraguay’s show what is possible. If malaria can be eliminated in one country, it can be eliminated in all countries.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, attributed the success to three key factors, the first of which was Paraguay’s focus on tracking the disease and preventing outbreaks, not just treating cases.
“Second, a network of committed health staff and community volunteers ensured no one was left behind in getting universal access to primary health care,” he continued.
Also vital was the “unwavering commitment and leadership” at all levels, to keep malaria control efforts on track, added the head of WHO.
However, in spite of the success in Paraguay and in other countries, malaria remains a major health concern. In 2016, the disease resulted in 216 million cases worldwide and claimed 445,000 lives.
Mr. Tedros urged continued vigilance against the disease, noting that success in Paraguay “shows what is possible.”
“It gives us hope that if malaria can be eliminated in one country, it can be eliminated in all countries.”
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