Today, the World Health Organization, WHO, certified El Salvador as a malaria-free country. The certification was recommended by a team of specialists, which the WHO Malaria Policy Advisory Group endorsed.
El Salvador is the first malaria-free country in Central America and the third in America to receive such certification, according to WHO. The other two malaria-free countries in America are Paraguay, which did so in 2018, and Argentina in 2019. In the world, only 38 countries and territories have reached this milestone.
“Congratulations to El Salvador for the remarkable malaria end achievement. Malaria has afflicted humankind for millennia, but countries like El Salvador are living proof and inspiration for all countries that we can dare to dream of a malaria-free future,” wrote Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Twitter.
Dr. Tedros, the director-General of the World Health Organization, stated that “The malaria-free certification of El Salvador follows more than 50 years of commitment by the Salvadoran government and people to ending the disease in a country with a dense population and geography hospitable to malaria. Felicidades!”
The malaria-free certification is given to a country that the transmission of the virus has been interrupted nationwide for at least the previous three consecutive years. The government has reported zero indigenous cases of the disease since 2017.
“We have achieved another historic milestone in health. Our country achieves the Malaria Free certification by the WHO, and we have become the first in Central America to achieve it,” Minister of Health, Francisco Alabi.
Health Minister stressed its thanks to health personal around the country, “They have been able to maintain all the actions aimed at the eradication of malaria in the country, even during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alabi.
According to the World Health Organization, “Except for one outbreak in 1996, El Salvador steadily reduced its malaria burden over the last three decades.”
Pedro L. Alonso, Director Global Malaria Program, sent a congratulation message to El Salvador. “Today, we congratulate the people & government of El Salvador for being certified as malaria-free. Some people thought it could not be done. With country leadership & support from partners, they are the 1st country in Central America to eliminate malaria.”