The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to end malaria in 25 countries by 2025, including Honduras, Guatemala and Panama, thanks to a new initiative launched this Wednesday.
The initiative “will provide support to these countries in the last stretch to eliminate malaria,” explained the organization in a statement, on the eve of the world day dedicated to combat this disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year.
Eight new countries were added to the list of 17 that were already participating in this campaign but have not managed to eliminate the disease.
They are Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, the Dominican Republic, North Korea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Thailand and Vanuatu.
Among the other nations that were already on the program are South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador and South Korea.
Some of them have not registered any indigenous cases of malaria, but have not yet requested official certification from the WHO as a country free from the disease.
In 2019, the number of new infections was around 229 million people, a relatively stable figure in the last four years. And since 2018, deaths have remained at about 400,000 per year. Of these, 90% occur in Africa, where more than 265,000 children died from this disease in 2019.
Success in eradicating malaria “is mainly due to the political will to put an end to the disease in a country where it is endemic,” said Dr. Pedro Alonso, who is responsible for the fight against malaria at the WHO.
According to the statistics of the institution, in the world there are 87 countries affected by malaria, 46 of them have declared less than 10,000 cases in 2019, compared to 26 in 2000.