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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WHO European Region aims to wipe out malaria in 4 years: Roll Back Malaria partners target strongholds of the disease

Via WHO's Europe Region, excerpt :

" Eliminating malaria by the end of 2015 in at least 8–10 additional countries globally, and thus from the entire WHO European Region, is one of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s objectives. A new WHO report, “Eliminating malaria: learning from the past, looking ahead”, clearly indicates that the 53 countries that make up the European Region are very close to reaching the goal.

Hopes of wiping out the disease in the Region have been growing since WHO declared Turkmenistan and, last week, Armenia malaria free. A country can request WHO to certify its malaria-free status when its surveillance system has reported no cases for at least three consecutive years. In addition, since 2010, locally acquired Plasmodium vivax malaria cases have been reported in only five European countries: Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Georgia reported its last locally acquired malaria case in 2009. The temporary reintroduction of malaria transmission in Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation has been controlled in recent years.

“We are exterminating the disease from its last remaining strongholds,” says Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “With strong human capacity, continued investment, evidence-based programming and continued partnership, achieving the ambitious Roll Back Malaria targets for 2015, including the elimination of the disease from the WHO European Region, is within our grasp.”

WHO’s eradication programme has targeted malaria since 1955. The campaign successfully eliminated the disease in some countries, but ultimately failed to achieve its overall goal. It was thus abandoned less than two decades later in favour of the less ambitious goal of malaria control. In recent years, however, interest has re-emerged in malaria eradication as a long-term goal."

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