Washington, D.C., November 6, 2018 – Malaria No More congratulates programs in Brazil, Paraguay and Suriname on being named 2018 Malaria Champions by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today at an event commemorating Malaria Day in the Americas.
The programs were selected based on innovative efforts that strengthened capacities towards malaria elimination and prevention of re-establishment in communities, countries and the region.
Paraguay’s National Malaria Control Program received the honor for leading Paraguay to become the first country to be certified malaria-free in the Americas in 45 years. Their certification was confirmed by the World Health Organization in June. In Suriname, the Ministry of Health’s Malaria Program was awarded for putting the country on course to reach zero malaria cases by 2020.
While Brazil has one of the highest malaria burdens in the Americas, it has significantly decreased malaria cases in parts of the country since 2000. This is in part due to two programs in Brazil focused on malaria elimination —Alto Rio Solimões Amazonas and Machadinho D’Oeste, Rondonia – recognized for innovations in reducing malaria cases in the communities where they work by building local response capacities, including improved malaria surveillance, diagnosis and treatment.
“Paraguay and Suriname are leaders in shrinking the malaria map in the Americas,” said Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More. “Paraguay showed us that malaria elimination is possible, and Suriname is on track to soon follow. The programs honored in Brazil inspire us to reflect on the huge progress we have made against this preventable but deadly disease, and the need to keep fighting until no one dies from a mosquito bite.”
Between 2000 and 2015 malaria cases and deaths in the Americas fell by more than 60%. Following Paraguay’s recent malaria-free certification, several more countries in the Americas are expected to reach zero malaria cases by 2020, including Argentina, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador and Suriname.
To scale up effective surveillance, prevention and treatment in the Dominican Republic and a select group of Central American countries on the road to elimination, the Inter-American Development Bank, in collaboration with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carlos Slim Foundation, created a new financing and technical assistance mechanism – the Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative (RMEI) earlier this year.
However, despite these successes, progress in the Americas has been mixed and uneven. In the last two years, malaria cases have risen significantly in a few countries, particularly Venezuela.
“We must act now to reverse the recent uptick of malaria cases throughout the world, including in the highest burden areas in the Americas,” Edlund said. “Building on the work of this year’s Malaria Champions and focusing on targeted and decisive actions at the local level will go a long way toward advancing the goal of malaria elimination in the Americas.”
For more information or interview requests, contact Michal Fishman at +1 504-220-2792 or Michal.Fishman@MalariaNoMore.org
About Malaria No More
Malaria No More envisions a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite. More than a decade into our mission, our work has contributed to historic progress toward this goal. Now, we’re mobilizing the political commitment, funding, and innovation required to achieve what would be one of the greatest humanitarian accomplishments – ending malaria within our generation. Malaria No More has offices in the United States, Cameroon, Kenya and India and affiliates in Japan and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.malarianomore.org