Algeria and Argentina have been officially recognized by WHO as malaria-free countries, a statement from the UN agency on Thursday revealed.
The certification is granted when a country proves that it has interrupted indigenous transmission of the disease for at least three consecutive years.
Contracted through the bite of an infected mosquito, malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, with an estimated 219 million cases and over 400 000 malaria-related deaths in 2017.
Approximately 60 percent of fatalities are among children aged under 5 years.
Algeria is the second country in the WHO African Region to be officially recognized as malaria-free, after Mauritius, which was certified in 1973, a statement from the UN agency on Thursday said.
Argentina is the second country in the WHO Region of the Americas to be certified in 45 years, after Paraguay in June 2018.
Algeria and Argentina reported their last cases of indigenous malaria in 2013 and 2010 respectively.
“For both Algeria and Argentina, malaria has a history that spans hundreds of years, and the battle against the disease has been hard-fought. Over the last decade, improved surveillance allowed for every last case of malaria to be rapidly identified and treated. Importantly, both countries provided free diagnosis and treatment within their borders, ensuring no one was left behind in getting the services they needed to prevent, detect and cure the disease” the statement said.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said the two countries’ success serves as a model for other nations working to end the scourge of malaria.