Yesterday was the twelfth edition of the Malaria Day in America, a platform for countries in the region to carry out a dynamic campaign against malaria, a disease that in almost the last century was the main cause of death almost all nations of the world. Therefore, the Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO) called on the countries in the region to take urgent measures to stop the increase in cases, maintain achievements and eliminate the continent of this deadly disease.
Currently, Paraguay is the first non-malaria-free state in the world, officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in June this year. Until 1973, Cuba achieved this achievement. Now, Argentina is on its way to obtaining a certification in 2019. Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Suriname make up a list of 21 countries in the world that will eliminate malaria by 2020. Although other countries have seen an increase in the number of cases that threaten the achievement of the reduction targets and the proper elimination of disease in the region by 2030.
PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne confirmed that the elimination of malaria is now closer than ever before, but believes that "we can not trust or release actions, we need to deepen our efforts to control where the incidence has returned", he continued.
Malaysia is endemic in 20 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, one less than in 2017 after the expulsion to Paraguay. Since 2015, the number of cases of malaria in the region has increased by 71%. 95% of the total number has been concentrated in five countries, particularly in specific areas where efforts to combat illness have been weakened. Many affected are indigenous people, people living in vulnerable situations, and mobile populations, such as miners and migrants.
"To eliminate malaria, we need more investment and expand access to preventing, diagnosing and timely treatment of community-centered diseases that focus on most cases," said Marcos Espinal, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Determinants. Environmental health of PAHO.
The Day of Malaria in America has been introduced by the PAHO Member States in the 2008 Orientation Council and is an opportunity to highlight the need to invest in disease prevention and management in America. It is estimated that regional efforts coordinated by PAHO and its partners have saved hundreds of lives by reducing the number of deaths by 30% between 2000 and 2017.