China declared malaria-free for four consecutive years by W.H.O

Khevna.P.Shah, INN/Bangalore

@Shahkhevna1, @Infodeaofficial

China was declared malaria-free on Wednesday by the World Health Organization after a seven-decade-long campaign against the disease which has killed hundreds and thousands of people in the country.

The director-general of W.H.O, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement, “Today we congratulate the people of China on ridding the country of malaria,” he further said, “Their success was hard-earned and came only after decades of targeted and sustained action, with this announcement, China joins the growing number of countries that are showing the world that a malaria-free future is a viable goal.”

China Is Malaria-Free, Says World Health Organization

According to the global health agency, Singapore, Brunei, and Australia have managed to successfully eradicate malaria and China is the first country to be awarded malaria-free certification in more than three decades by the W.H.O Western Pacific region. This achievement is marked as the major milestone for the world’s most populous nation.

Africa still carries a high share of the global malaria burden and in the year 2019, this country was the home to 94% of malaria cases and deaths, and most of the victims were children. That year, the estimated number of deaths worldwide from malaria stood at 4, 09,000. Chineses officials have agreed to share their lessons in eradicating malaria with the African continent. In 2020, December, the Chineses Center for Disease Control and Prevention officials held a symposium for the very same purpose with W.H.O and Harvard University.

China has been a victim of malaria for decades. Dating back to the 1950s, the country scuffled with as many as 30 million cases a year with only a 1% mortality rate. Mao Zedong has to set up a secret military project, Project 523, to find a solution for it and it was only through this project that a Nobel Prize receiver, Tu Youyou, a Chinese scientist discovered artemisinin, a core compound of the most effective anti-malarial drug.

Later in the year 1980s, China deployed insecticide-treated nets across the country, even before the W.H.O recommended its use to control malaria. And by 1988, more than 2.4 million nets had been distributed nationwide.

By the end of the 1990s, malaria cases in China had plummeted up to 1, 17,000 and the deaths had been reduced by 95%. Despite this in the year 2003, China continued to step up staffing, medicines, laboratory equipment and training to combat this epidemic.

In 2010

The government launched a national malaria elimination plan to take a sweeping approach to eradicate the diseases. Thirteen ministries including those in the police, the army, health, and tourism were enlisted as part of this nationwide effort.

These agencies were expected to respond quickly to cases, using the “1-3-7” strategy. Which gave a one-day deadline for health facilities to report a malaria diagnosis; and then three days for the health authorities to confirm a case and determine the risk of spread; and finally a seven-day timeline for officials to take appropriate measures to prevent further spread.

Although being successful in eradicating malaria, the W.H.O warned that malaria could return to China, and the country’s victory over the disease demonstrated that innovative treatments and aggressive tracking of cases can keep it in check.

Many more countries are becoming free of malaria, a blood disease contracted through the bite of an infected mosquito. According to W.H.O forty countries and territories have now successfully eradicated the disease

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