Cape Verde reaches malaria-free milestone

  • By Dorcas Wangira
  • Africa well being correspondent, BBC Information, Nairobi

Picture supply, Getty Pictures

A sub-Saharan African nation has been declared malaria-free for the primary time in 50 years.

Cape Verde was given the standing by the World Well being Group (WHO) because it has not reported a single case of native transmission in three years.

Consultants have described this as a significant achievement.

Malaria is a big killer on the continent. In 2022, 580,000 folks in Africa died from the illness, amounting to 95% of fatalities worldwide.

The illness is attributable to a fancy parasite which is unfold by mosquito bites.

Vaccines at the moment are being utilized in some locations however monitoring the illness and avoiding mosquito bites are the best methods to forestall malaria.

Cape Verde, a small island nation off the coast of West Africa, has taken years to succeed in this level by strengthening its well being programs and growing entry to analysis and therapy of all instances.

Surveillance officers have been detecting instances early, in addition to controlling mosquitoes.

Cape Verde’s plan for malaria management has additionally ensured free care and diagnostic providers for worldwide travellers and migrants, with the goal of stemming the tide of instances imported from mainland Africa.

“This success displays the laborious work and dedication of numerous well being professionals, collaborators, communities and worldwide companions. It’s a testimony to what may be achieved by means of collective dedication to bettering public well being,” Cape Verde’s Well being Minister Dr Filomena Gonçalves instructed the BBC.

Dr Dorothy Achu Fosah, from the WHO Africa workplace, added that her organisation was “excited and happy” with the outcomes and the truth that malaria was “kicked out” from the nation.

Well being specialists say Cape Verde’s achievement units an enormous instance for different small nations on the continent, displaying that containment and elimination insurance policies can work.

Malaria was as soon as detected on all of Cape Verde’s 9 inhabited islands, however in recent times might solely be discovered on one, Sáo Tiago – the place the ultimate efforts had been concentrated.

The WHO’s Dr Achu mentioned the truth that the nation is an archipelago can be an essential think about its success.

On an island, it’s simpler to map out the areas most affected by the illness and see how it’s being transferred from one island to a different, in comparison with a steady land mass.

In badly affected nations equivalent to Nigeria, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, there’s a extremely cellular inhabitants recurrently crossing borders, making it troublesome for one nation to eradicate the illness by itself.

Cape Verde’s success “offers us hope that with current instruments, in addition to new ones together with vaccines, we are able to dare to dream of a malaria-free world”, WHO Director Basic Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned.

The final nation in sub-Saharan Africa to be declared malaria-free was the island nation of Mauritius in 1973. Algeria, in North Africa, achieved this standing in 2019.

Extra reporting by Makuochi Okafor

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