Paraguay became the first country in the Americas in 45 years to receive certification from the WHO for eliminating malaria on Monday. This designation follows the country being identified in 2016 as one of 21 countries that had the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020.
“Receiving this certification is a recognition of more than five decades of hard work in Paraguay,” said Carlos Ignacio Morínigo, Paraguay’s Minister of Health.
To receive WHO certification, a country has to demonstrate zero cases of indigenous malaria transmission over three consecutive years, as well as the systemic capacity to prevent the disease’s return.
Paraguay launched a five-year elimination plan in 2011 focused on case management, community engagement and education. In 2016, the Ministry of Health, backed by the Global Fund, launched another three-year initiative to build the skills of health workers to screen and treat malaria.
The news came on the same day as WHO’s publication of the E2020 Report, which provides updates on progress and obstacles among those countries with a potential to eliminate malaria by 2020.
photo credit: WHO