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Algeria and Argentina certified malaria-free by WHO - reaction comment

Argentina & Algeria have been officially recognized by WHO as malaria-free. The certification is granted when a country proves that it has interrupted indigenous transmission of the disease for at least three consecutive 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. Argentina is the second country in the WHO Region of the Americas to be certified in 45 years, after Paraguay in June 2018.

Professor Colin Sutherland, co-Director of the Malaria Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:

“Congratulations to Argentina & Algeria. Wonderful news that should act as a catalyst to redouble action in other countries. It’s particularly pleasing to hear Algeria has eliminated malaria, the country where the malaria parasite was first described in 1880.

“Malaria can be defeated but it’s imperative that complacency in fighting the disease does not set in. Going forward it’s important that countries with a high burden of malaria, with the support of the global health community, can learn from these successes and make fast inroads into reducing cases.”

The Malaria Centre brings together around 300 researchers, postgraduate students and support staff from all three LSHTM faculties. Since its inception in 1998, the Malaria Centre has members working in around 40 countries at any one time. Areas of work range from basic laboratory science to social and economic studies, with a strong emphasis placed on translating research outcomes into practice. In addition to the scientific and policy work, members also provide teaching and training on malaria, both in London, and building capacity in endemic countries overseas.