July 30, 2021

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China became free from malaria after 70 years of effort, WHO announced

China became free from malaria after 70 years of effort, WHO announced

Highlights:

  • After 70 years of effort, the World Health Organization has certified that China is malaria free,
  • Malaria recorded 30 million cases of the disease annually in China in the 1940s.
  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has congratulated China on this success

Geneva
After 70 years of effort, the World Health Organization on Tuesday certified that China is malaria-free, which is a remarkable achievement for that country. Malaria recorded 30 million cases of the disease annually in the 1940s. In an official statement issued by the world body, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Today we congratulate the people of China on getting rid of malaria.”

“Their success was hard-earned and came only after decades of targeted and sustained action,” Tedros said. With this announcement, China joins a growing number of countries showing the world that a malaria-free future is possible. China is the first country in the WHO Western Pacific to be awarded malaria-free certification in more than three decades. Other countries in the region that have achieved this status include Australia (1981), Singapore (1982) and Brunei Darussalam (1987).

The WHO statement said that in the early 1950s, health officials in China worked to prevent the spread of malaria by treating people at risk of the disease as well as those who were sick. In 1967, the Chinese government launched the ‘523 Project’, a nationwide research program aimed at finding new treatments for malaria. In this effort, involving more than 500 scientists from 60 institutions, in the 1970s artemisinin was discovered, the main compound of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), the most effective anti-malarial drug available today. .

Malaria-free certificate from WHO to 40 countries and regions of the world
By the end of 1990, the number of malaria cases in China had fallen to 117,000 and deaths had decreased by 95 percent. Within the 10 years since 2003, the number of cases had dropped to about 5,000 annually. Takeshi Kasai, regional director of the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office, said: ‘China’s tireless effort to achieve this important milestone shows how strong political commitment and strengthening national health systems can help eliminate such a disease. What was once a major public health problem.’

“China’s achievement takes us one step closer to the vision of a malaria-free western Pacific region,” Kasai said. Globally, 40 countries and territories have been granted malaria-free certification from WHO, including most recently, El Salvador (2021), Algeria (2019), Argentina (2019), Paraguay (2018) and Uzbekistan (2018). Are included.

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