The World Health Organization has declared Algeria free of Malaria, making it the second African country to be free of it after Mauritius.
Mauritius was recognized malaria-free in 1973.
Its regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said the country has shown the rest of Africa that malaria can be beaten through country leadership, bold action, a sound investment, and science. He added that the rest of the continent can learn from this experience.
Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted through the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes, the disease is both treatable and preventable.
According to the organization, there were an estimated two hundred and nineteen million cases and more than four hundred thousand malaria-related deaths worldwide as of 2017.
In order for a country to be certified as malaria-free, there has to prove that it has stopped in-country transmission of malaria for at least three consecutive years as the last cases of malaria in Algeria were reported in 2010 and 2013 respectively.
However, the WHO announced last month that a large scale pilot project will start vaccinating about three hundred and sixty thousand children a year in three African countries with the world’s first malaria vaccine.
The vaccine offers partial protection from malaria, with clinical trials finding that it prevented approximately four in ten malaria cases.
In Algeria, the success in stopping the disease is mainly down to a well-trained health workforce, providing malaria diagnosis and treatment through universal healthcare and a quick response to the disease outbreaks.