Seattle, December 14, 2018 – The World Health Organization (WHO) certified Uzbekistan as malaria-free, confirming the end of the country’s half-century long battle for malaria elimination within its borders. Uzbekistan becomes the second country this year to be certified malaria-free – Paraguay was certified in June – marking another milestone on the road to ending the disease for good.
“Malaria No More commends the government of Uzbekistan for its resilience and determination to eliminate malaria once and for all. Uzbekistan’s decade-long commitment demonstrates the government’s recognition that malaria stood in the way of the country’s development, and that ridding the country of this preventable disease was critical to improving the country’s economic outlook and protecting the health of its people,” said Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More.
Uzbekistan first eliminated malaria in 1961, but struggled to maintain elimination as malaria cases continued to flow into Uzbekistan from neighboring countries. In 2000, recognizing the barriers that having malaria within its borders had on the country’s economy and overall health of its citizens, the government of Uzbekistan stepped up its investment and implemented a holistic, multi-sectoral approach that went beyond health, with support from other ministries – agriculture, education and transportation. Highlighting the critical factors needed to get the job done, the WHO certification committee cited Uzbekistan’s decision to maintain its support of the nation’s primary health care system – the backbone of the malaria response – even during the economic crisis that gripped the country during the 1990s; its use of data to better target malaria interventions where they’re need most; and, its approach towards early detection, diagnosis and efficacious treatment of malaria patients – free of charge and irrespective of nationality.
Another critical factor was support from non-governmental organizations and partners, particularly the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which played a vital role in Uzbekistan’s achievement by providing financial support to ensure the national malaria program had the full amount of insecticide-treated bed nets, Indoor Residual Spraying equipment, medicines and other tools needed to protect its citizens from malaria.
The pace of malaria elimination is quickening. According to this year’s WHO World Malaria Report, at least 10 countries are on track to eliminate malaria by 2020 and, 46 countries, more than half of all malaria-affected countries, reported less than 10,000 cases of malaria in 2017. Among that group, the number of countries with less than 100 indigenous cases of malaria – a strong indicator that elimination is within reach – increased from 15 countries in 2010 to 26 countries in 2017.
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