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WHO Declares Azerbaijan, Tajikistan Malaria-Free

WHO Declares Azerbaijan, Tajikistan Malaria-Free

So far, 41 countries and 1 territory have been declared malaria-free by WHO, with Azerbaijan and Tajikistan being the recent ones to achieve the milestone.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : March 29, 2023 11:51 PM IST

Azerbaijan and Tajikistan have successfully eliminated malaria from their territories and received certification from the World Health Organization (WHO) for reaching the malaria-free milestone. Including, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, a total of 41 countries and 1 territory have been declared malaria-free by WHO. Of these 21 countries are in the European Region.

Malaria elimination is possible with the right resources and political commitment, and this has been proven by the people and governments of Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressing hopes that other countries will get to learn from their experience.

With Azerbaijan's and Tajikistan now receiving the malaria-free status, the WHO European Region is more likely to become the first region in the world to be fully malaria-free, commented Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

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Malaria control efforts taken in Azerbaijan and Tajikistan

The malaria-free status or certification of malaria elimination is given when a country has been successful in interrupting the chain of indigenous malaria transmission by Anopheles mosquitoes for at least three successive years and has shown the capacity to prevent the re-establishment of transmission.

Azerbaijan and Tajikistan detected the last case of locally transmitted Plasmodium vivax (P.vivax) malaria in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

As it announces Azerbaijan and Tajikistan as malaria-free, WHO also highlighted the malaria control efforts taken up by the governments to eliminate the disease.

According to WHO, both the countries have strongly implemented targeted malaria interventions such as spraying insecticides on the walls of homes, encouraging early detection and treatment of all cases, and enhancing the skills and capacities of health workers who are engaged in malaria elimination.

Both countries have utilized national electronic malaria surveillance systems that provide nearly real-time detection of cases, allowing rapid investigations. Other interventions aimed at eliminating malaria include biological methods of larvae control (mosquito-eating fish), and water management measures to reduce malaria vectors, and mass education on malaria prevention.

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