Honoring World Malaria Day, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) called on countries to improve efforts to tackle malaria in the region.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) encourages countries to establish a program on the prevention and the response to Malaria, which includes prevention, diagnosis, and treatment interventions as stages that are data-led and tailored to local contexts.
In 2020, in the Americas region, 18 endemic countries reported over 600 000 malaria cases, representing 26 percent above the recorded from previous years, thanks to the sustained efforts towards elimination. Apropos of the theme of World Malaria Day 2022, has emerged the harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives; the main objective is to highlight the importance of investment in new tools, as well as in the more effective use of available methods to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria, particularly in those countries that are the hardest hit.
In 2018, Paraguay was one of the countries certificated as free of malaria, followed by Argentine, designated in 2019 malaria-free, and El Salvador in 2021. The progress has contributed to reducing the number of malaria-endemic countries in the region from 21 in 2015 to 18 today. Belize is working on completing the requirements to receive certification this year.
Dr. Marcos Espinal, Director of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health at PAHO has said that the “malaria is a disease that knows no national borders,” said Dr. Marcos Espinal, Director of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health at PAHO, adding that “it is crucial that countries work together to tackle transmission and implement more effective preventive measures where they are needed the most – at the local, community level.”
Regardless of the progress and efforts, there are continuous spikes in cases associated with economic migration, particularly within the agriculture, fishing, and mining sectors, combined with insufficient health care facilities in areas with hard to reach and mobile populations, which might represent a danger for all the progress reached, locating elimination efforts at risk in some countries.
Malaria is caused by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Symptoms including fever, headache, and chills usually appear 10-15 days after a bite and may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. Malaria can result in death if left untreated, progressing to severe illness.