Yesterday was the twelfth issue of the Day of Malaria in America, a platform for the countries of the region to conduct a dynamic campaign against malaria, a disease that in the last century was the main cause of death in almost all nations of the world. Accordingly, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) called on the countries of the region to take urgent measures to stop the increase in cases, maintain achievements and remove the continent of this deadly disease.
At present, Paraguay is the first non-malaria-free country in the world, officially recognized by the World Health Organization (VHO) in June this year. Until 1973, Cuba achieved this achievement. Now, Argentina is on its way to obtaining a certificate in 2019. Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Suriname make 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, which threaten the achievement of reduction targets and the proper elimination of disease in the region by 2030.
Director of PAHO Carissa F. Etienn has confirmed that the elimination of malaria is now closer than ever, but believes that "we can not trust or abandon actions, efforts to control have to be doubled where the incidence has receded," he continued.
Malaria is endemic in 20 countries of Latin America and Caribbean, one less than in 2017 after the elimination in Paraguay. Since 2015, cases of malaria in the region have increased by 71%. 95% of the total concentration was concentrated in five countries, mainly in specific areas where efforts against this disease were undermined. Many of the affected are indigenous people, people living in vulnerable situations and mobile populations such as miners and migrants.
"If we want to eliminate malaria, we need more investment and expand access to prevention, diagnosis and timely treatment of diseases in communities that concentrate most cases," said Marcos Espinal, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Determinants. Ecological health of PAHO.
Malaria Day in America launched PAHO Member States in the 2008 Direct Council and is an opportunity to highlight the need to invest in disease prevention and control in America. It is estimated that regional efforts in the coordination of PAHO and its partners have saved hundreds of lives by reducing the death rate by 30% between 2000 and 2017.