World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Cabo Verde as being malaria-free. It is a major victory for global health. With this news, Cabo Verde becomes one of 43 nations and one territory to receive this certification from WHO.
In the WHO African region, Cabo Verde is the third certified nation, after Mauritius and Algeria. They received their certifications in 1973 and 2019, respectively. The African continent has the largest malaria burden; in 2021, it accounted for 95% of all malaria cases worldwide and 96% of deaths associated with the disease.
The certification of the eradication of malaria will spur favourable growth for Cabo Verde on several fronts. The health system has been strengthened to eradicate malaria. They will be utilised to combat other illnesses spread by mosquitoes, such dengue fever. It is now possible for visitors from non-malaria endemic areas to visit the islands of Cabo Verde. They do not have to worry about contracting local malaria infections or the possible inconvenience of taking preventive treatment. In a nation where tourism contributes roughly 25% of GDP, this could draw more tourists and stimulate socioeconomic activities.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus remarked, “I salute the government and people of Cabo Verde for their unwavering commitment and resilience in their journey to eliminate malaria”. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration that Cabo Verde is malaria-free is evidence of the effectiveness of cooperative efforts, smart public health planning, and persistent work to safeguard. The latest development in the global fight against malaria is Cabo Verde’s achievement. It offers us hope that we might dare to dream of a world free of malaria.
Certification is given after a nation provides solid, reliable proof that the chain of indigenous malaria transmission has been disrupted nationally for at least the last three years. Additionally, a nation must exhibit its ability to stop the spread of disease.
“Being certified as a malaria-free nation has significant implications, and achieving this status has not happened overnight. This is excellent for the nation’s external image, which benefits everyone, including tourists. Ulisses Correia e Silva, the prime minister of Cabo Verde, stated, “The challenge that Cabo Verde has overcome in the health system is being recognised.”
The ten-island archipelago of Cabo Verde in the Central Atlantic Ocean has seen serious malarial outbreaks. Malaria plagued every island before the 1950s. Insecticide spraying was used with precision to eradicate malaria twice in the nation: in 1967 and 1983. But later neglect of vector management resulted in the disease’s resurgence. Santiago and Boa Vista, since the disease’s last peak in the late 1980s. Both islands have been malaria-free since 2017.
Cabo Verde’s Journey to Malaria Elimination
Adding this goal to its national health policy in 2007 gave Cabo Verde’s long-term effort to eradicate malaria a significant push. A strategic malaria strategy established a foundation or success that ran from 2009 to 2013 and focused on expanding diagnosis, providing early and efficient treatment, and documenting and looking into every case. International tourists and migrants received free diagnosis and treatment in an effort to stop the flow of imported cases from mainland Africa.
Cabo Verde used an outbreak as an opportunity in 2017. After identifying issues and implementing fixes, Cabo Verde saw a three-year period of zero indigenous cases.
The nation maintained its progress during the COVID-19 pandemic, concentrating on enhancing the effectiveness and durability of vector management and malaria prevention.
A key factor in Cabo Verde’s success was cooperation between the Ministry of Health and other government agencies that dealt with the environment, agriculture, transportation, tourism, and other issues. The prime minister’s interministerial panel on vector control played a pivotal role in its eradication. The cooperative work and dedication of non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations demonstrated comprehensive approach to public health.
The world community applauds Cabo Verde’s leaders, medical professionals, and people for their commitment to ending malaria and building a better future for everybody, even as the country celebrates this enormous accomplishment.