Algeria and Argentina have been officially recognized by WHO as malaria-free, following three consecutive years where no new cases of the deadly disease have been reported.
The malaria parasite, which kills more than 400,000 people each year, was discovered in Algeria in 1880 by a French physician. Most of the victims are children under the age of five in Africa
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.
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“Algeria and Argentina have eliminated malaria thanks to the unwavering commitment and perseverance of the people and leaders of both countries,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in the organization’s press release.
According to the WHO, a lot of money has been invested in the fight against malaria, but the global battle against the disease is stalling. As per a report, in 2017, the number of reported cases rose by 3 million to a total of 219 globally.
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The two countries join 36 others around the world which have eliminated the mosquito-borne-disease. Their success serves as a model for other countries working to end this disease once and for all.