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WHO declares Sri Lanka malaria-free

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially declared Sri Lanka a malaria-free, after certifying that the life-threatening disease had been completely eliminated in the island.

With this, Sri Lanka became second country in the South-East Asia Region declared as malaria after Maldives by the WHO.

Key Facts

  • The announcement in this regard was made at the 69th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia Region held in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka.
  • Besides, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and the Ministry of Public Health of South Korea were conferred the ‘Excellence in Public Health’ awards for “their remarkable and sustained role in the public health gains” of their countries by the WHO South-East Asia Region.
  • Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease most commonly transmitted by an infected female Anopheles mosquito.
  • It caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type.

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25 April: World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day (WMD) is being observed annually on 25 April across the world to recognise the global efforts to control preventable vector borne disease malaria.

It also seeks to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for elimination and control of malaria.

2016 Theme:End Malaria For Good”. It reflects the vision of a malaria-free world set out in the Global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030.

The strategy was adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2015. It aims to dramatically lower the global malaria burden over the next 15 years and is aligned with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals of the strategy are: (i) Reduce rate of new malaria cases by at least 90% (ii) Reduce malaria death rates by at least 90% (iii) Eliminate malaria in at least 35 countries (iv) Prevent a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.

Background

  • The World Malaria Day was established by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, a decision-making body of World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2007.
  • It was established to provide understanding and education of malaria and also spread information on year-long intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies.
  • It is one of eight official global public health campaigns currently marked by the WHO.

Note: Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease most commonly transmitted by an infected female Anopheles mosquito. It caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type.

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Europe becomes world’s first region to end malaria: WHO

Europe has become the world’s first region to wipe out Malaria, a mosquito-borne vetor disease with zero cases reported in the year 2015.

It was revealed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its World Malaria Report 2015. Particular region or country is declared Malaria free by WHO after it has zero locally acquired malaria cases for at least three consecutive years.

Key Highlights of Report

  • The number of malaria cases fell to zero from 90,712 between 1995 and 2015 in the countries of European region.
  • Only 179 cases of malaria were reported in six countries in 2010. The last cases of malaria were reported in Tajikistan in 2014.
  • The region was able to wipe out the deadly disease because of strong political commitment, improved detection and surveillance, mosquito control, cross-border collaboration.
  • Until the end of World War II, the spread of Malaria was common in southern Europe, including Portugal, Italy, the Balkans and Greece. But the region was declared malaria free in 1975.

In the year 2015, there were 214 million cases of the malaria across the world and it had killed around 438,000 people, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

It should be noted that World leaders have committed to end the malaria epidemic by 2030 as one the goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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