El Salvador certified as malaria-free by WHO

El Salvador is first Central American country to achieve this status, third in all of the Americas in recent years

El Salvador today became the first country in Central America to be awarded a certification of malaria elimination by the World Health Organization (WHO). The certification follows more than 50 years of commitment by the Salvadoran government and people
to ending the disease in a country with dense population and geography hospitable to malaria.

“Malaria has afflicted humankind for millennia, but countries like El Salvador are living proof and inspiration for all countries that we can dare to dream of a malaria-free future,” said Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Certification of malaria elimination is granted by WHO when a country has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of indigenous transmission has been interrupted nationwide for at least the previous three consecutive years.

With the exception of one outbreak in 1996, El Salvador steadily reduced its malaria burden over the last three decades. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of malaria cases declined from more than 9000 to 26. The country has reported zero indigenous cases
of the disease since 2017.

“For decades, El Salvador has worked hard to wipe out malaria and the human suffering that it generates,” said Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO’s regional office for the Americas. “Over the years, El Salvador has dedicated both the human and financial resources needed to succeed. This certification today is a life-saving achievement for the Americas.”

El Salvador is the third country to have achieved malaria-free status in recent years in the WHO Region of the Americas,
following Argentina in 2019 and Paraguay in 2018. Seven countries in the region were certified from 1962 to 1973. Globally, a total of 38 countries and territories have reached this milestone.

El Salvador’s Minister of Health, Dr Francisco José Alabi Montoya, said: “The people and the government of El Salvador, together with its health workers, have fought for decades against malaria. Today we celebrate this historical achievement
of having El Salvador certified malaria free.” 

El Salvador’s road to elimination

El Salvador’s anti-malaria efforts began in the 1940s with mechanical control of the malaria vector – the mosquito – through construction of the first permanent drains in swamps, followed by indoor spraying with the pesticide DDT. In
the mid-1950s, El Salvador established a National Malaria Program (CNAP) and recruited a network of community health workers to detect and treat malaria across the country. The volunteers, known as “Col Vol,” registered malaria cases and
interventions. The data, entered into health information systems by vector control personnel, allowed for strategic and targeted responses across the country.

By the late 1960s, progress had slowed as mosquitoes developed resistance to DDT. An expansion in the country’s cotton industry is thought to have fueled a further rise in malaria cases. Throughout the 1970s, there was a surge of migrant laborers
on cotton estates in coastal areas near mosquito breeding sites, in addition to discontinued use of DDT. El Salvador experienced a resurgence of malaria, reaching a peak of nearly 96 000 cases in 1980.

With the support of PAHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), El Salvador successfully reoriented its malaria program, which led to improved targeting of resources and interventions
based on geographic distribution of cases. The government also decentralized its network of diagnostic laboratories in 1987, allowing for cases to be detected and treated more rapidly. These factors and the collapse of the cotton industry led to a
rapid decline of cases in the 1980s.

The 2009 health reform, which included important improvements on budget and coverage of primary health care, as well as maintenance of the vector control program as the technical leader in malaria interventions, contributed to El Salvador’s success.

Country leadership and consistent funding

El Salvador’s government recognized early on that consistent and adequate domestic financing would be crucial to achieve and maintain its health-related goals, including for malaria. This commitment has been reflected for more than 50 years in national
budget lines.

Despite reporting its last malaria-related death in 1984, El Salvador has maintained its domestic investments for malaria. In 2020, the country continued to rely on 276 vector control personnel, 247 laboratories, nurses and doctors involved in case detection,
epidemiologists, management teams and personnel, and more than 3000 community health workers. As part of El Salvador’s commitment to maintain zero cases, national budgeting for malaria has been and will be preserved, even through the pandemic. 

Global and regional initiatives

El Salvador is a member of the WHO global “E-2020” initiative – a group of 21 countries identified in 2016 as having potential to eliminate malaria by 2020. With support from WHO and PAHO, national program staff from El Salvador have participated in global meetings that bring together malaria-eliminating
countries to share innovations and best practices.

Although the majority of financing for malaria has come from domestic resources, El Salvador’s elimination effort benefited from external grants provided by the Global Fund.

In 2019, El Salvador joined the Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative (RMEI), which was organized by the Inter-American Development Bank with technical leadership from PAHO and the participation of the Council of Health Ministers of Central America
(COMISCA).The initiative supports Central American countries, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Colombia in a collaborative effort to eliminate malaria.

PAHO has provided technical support throughout El Salvador’s anti-malaria campaign, from control to elimination to prevention of reestablishment of the disease. El Salvador’s success is an important contribution to the PAHO Elimination Initiative, a collaborative effort between governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and communities to eliminate more than 30 communicable diseases and related conditions in the Americas,
including malaria, by 2030.

 

Note to the editor

Global and regional trends

Contracted through the bites of infected mosquitos, malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, with more than 200 million cases and 400 000 malaria-related deaths reported each year. Approximately two-thirds of fatalities are among children
under the age of five.

As of 2019, the Americas reported 723 000 confirmed cases of malaria, compared to almost 1.2 million cases in 2000. The total number of malaria deaths fell by 52% in the same period of time – from 410 to 197. Since 2015, the Region has seen a 66%
rise in cases largely due to increased malaria transmission in some countries. Despite the increase, advances against malaria continue. In 2020, Belize completed two years without indigenous malaria transmission and, by the end of 2020, 10 countries
and territories reported fewer than 2000 cases in 2019.

Facebook Live

Experts from El Salvador’s Ministry of Health, PAHO, and WHO experts will comment on El Salvador’s path to certification during a Facebook Live session on Friday, Feb. 26 at 11 EST. Simultaneous translation in English will be provided. To
participate, go to Facebook   

 

El Salvador is first Central American country to achieve this status, third in all of the Americas in recent years

El Salvador today became the first country in Central America to be awarded a certification of malaria elimination by the World Health Organization (WHO). The certification follows more than 50 years of commitment by the Salvadoran government and people
to ending the disease in a country with dense population and geography hospitable to malaria.

“Malaria has afflicted humankind for millennia, but countries like El Salvador are living proof and inspiration for all countries that we can dare to dream of a malaria-free future,” said Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Certification of malaria elimination is granted by WHO when a country has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of indigenous transmission has been interrupted nationwide for at least the previous three consecutive years.

With the exception of one outbreak in 1996, El Salvador steadily reduced its malaria burden over the last three decades. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of malaria cases declined from more than 9000 to 26. The country has reported zero indigenous cases
of the disease since 2017.

“For decades, El Salvador has worked hard to wipe out malaria and the human suffering that it generates,” said Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO’s regional office for the Americas. “Over the years, El Salvador has dedicated both the human and financial resources needed to succeed. This certification today is a life-saving achievement for the Americas.”

El Salvador is the third country to have achieved malaria-free status in recent years in the WHO Region of the Americas,
following Argentina in 2019 and Paraguay in 2018. Seven countries in the region were certified from 1962 to 1973. Globally, a total of 38 countries and territories have reached this milestone.

El Salvador’s Minister of Health, Dr Francisco José Alabi Montoya, said: “The people and the government of El Salvador, together with its health workers, have fought for decades against malaria. Today we celebrate this historical achievement
of having El Salvador certified malaria free.” 

El Salvador’s road to elimination

El Salvador’s anti-malaria efforts began in the 1940s with mechanical control of the malaria vector – the mosquito – through construction of the first permanent drains in swamps, followed by indoor spraying with the pesticide DDT. In
the mid-1950s, El Salvador established a National Malaria Program (CNAP) and recruited a network of community health workers to detect and treat malaria across the country. The volunteers, known as “Col Vol,” registered malaria cases and
interventions. The data, entered into health information systems by vector control personnel, allowed for strategic and targeted responses across the country.

By the late 1960s, progress had slowed as mosquitoes developed resistance to DDT. An expansion in the country’s cotton industry is thought to have fueled a further rise in malaria cases. Throughout the 1970s, there was a surge of migrant laborers
on cotton estates in coastal areas near mosquito breeding sites, in addition to discontinued use of DDT. El Salvador experienced a resurgence of malaria, reaching a peak of nearly 96 000 cases in 1980.

With the support of PAHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), El Salvador successfully reoriented its malaria program, which led to improved targeting of resources and interventions
based on geographic distribution of cases. The government also decentralized its network of diagnostic laboratories in 1987, allowing for cases to be detected and treated more rapidly. These factors and the collapse of the cotton industry led to a
rapid decline of cases in the 1980s.

The 2009 health reform, which included important improvements on budget and coverage of primary health care, as well as maintenance of the vector control program as the technical leader in malaria interventions, contributed to El Salvador’s success.

Country leadership and consistent funding

El Salvador’s government recognized early on that consistent and adequate domestic financing would be crucial to achieve and maintain its health-related goals, including for malaria. This commitment has been reflected for more than 50 years in national
budget lines.

Despite reporting its last malaria-related death in 1984, El Salvador has maintained its domestic investments for malaria. In 2020, the country continued to rely on 276 vector control personnel, 247 laboratories, nurses and doctors involved in case detection,
epidemiologists, management teams and personnel, and more than 3000 community health workers. As part of El Salvador’s commitment to maintain zero cases, national budgeting for malaria has been and will be preserved, even through the pandemic. 

Global and regional initiatives

El Salvador is a member of the WHO global “E-2020” initiative – a group of 21 countries identified in 2016 as having potential to eliminate malaria by 2020. With support from WHO and PAHO, national program staff from El Salvador have participated in global meetings that bring together malaria-eliminating
countries to share innovations and best practices.

Although the majority of financing for malaria has come from domestic resources, El Salvador’s elimination effort benefited from external grants provided by the Global Fund.

In 2019, El Salvador joined the Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative (RMEI), which was organized by the Inter-American Development Bank with technical leadership from PAHO and the participation of the Council of Health Ministers of Central America
(COMISCA).The initiative supports Central American countries, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Colombia in a collaborative effort to eliminate malaria.

PAHO has provided technical support throughout El Salvador’s anti-malaria campaign, from control to elimination to prevention of reestablishment of the disease. El Salvador’s success is an important contribution to the PAHO Elimination Initiative, a collaborative effort between governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and communities to eliminate more than 30 communicable diseases and related conditions in the Americas,
including malaria, by 2030.

 

Note to the editor

Global and regional trends

Contracted through the bites of infected mosquitos, malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, with more than 200 million cases and 400 000 malaria-related deaths reported each year. Approximately two-thirds of fatalities are among children
under the age of five.

As of 2019, the Americas reported 723 000 confirmed cases of malaria, compared to almost 1.2 million cases in 2000. The total number of malaria deaths fell by 52% in the same period of time – from 410 to 197. Since 2015, the Region has seen a 66%
rise in cases largely due to increased malaria transmission in some countries. Despite the increase, advances against malaria continue. In 2020, Belize completed two years without indigenous malaria transmission and, by the end of 2020, 10 countries
and territories reported fewer than 2000 cases in 2019.

Facebook Live

Experts from El Salvador’s Ministry of Health, PAHO, and WHO experts will comment on El Salvador’s path to certification during a Facebook Live session on Friday, Feb. 26 at 11 EST. Simultaneous translation in English will be provided. To
participate, go to Facebook   

 

Next Post

COVID-19 oxygen emergency impacting more than half a million people in low- and middle-income countries every day, as demand surges

Jum Feb 26 , 2021
<ul><li>More than half a million COVID-19 patients in LMICs estimated to need oxygen treatment every day.</li><li>New assessments show US$90 million immediate funding required to meet urgent need in up to 20 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Unitaid and Wellcome will make an immediate contribution of up to US$20 million in total for the emergency response.</li><li>COVID-19 Oxygen Emergency Taskforce brings together key organisations working on oxygen access under ACT-Accelerator Therapeutics pillar, as COVID-19 surges and preventable deaths occur</li><li>Taskforce partners will work together to measure oxygen demand, work with financing partners, and secure oxygen supplies and technical support for worst-affected countries</li></ul><p>Since the start of the pandemic, affordable and sustainable access to oxygen has been a growing challenge in low- and middle-income countries. </p><p><strong></strong>COVID-19 has put huge pressure on health systems, with hospitals in many LMICs running out of oxygen, resulting in preventable deaths and families of hospitalised patients paying a premium for scarce oxygen supplies.</p><p>Oxygen is an essential medicine, and despite being vital for the effective treatment of hospitalised COVID-19 patients, access in LMICs is limited due to cost, infrastructure and logistical barriers. Health facilities often cannot access the oxygen they require, resulting in the unnecessary loss of lives. </p><p>Recognising the central importance of sustainable oxygen supply – alongside therapeutic products such as dexamethasone – for the treatment of COVID-19, the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator Therapeutics pillar (co-led by Unitaid and Wellcome), is taking a new role to coordinate and advocate for increased supply of oxygen, and, in partnership with a WHO-led consortium<a href="https://www.who.int/#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1" title="">[1]</a>, is today announcing the launch of a <strong>COVID-19 Oxygen Emergency Taskforce.</strong></p><p>It is estimated that more than half a million people in LMICs currently need 1.1 million cylinders of oxygen per day<a href="https://www.who.int/#_ftn2" name="_ftnref2" title="">[2]</a>, with 25 countries currently reporting surges in demand, the majority in Africa. This supply was constrained prior to COVID-19 and has been exacerbated by the pandemic.</p><p>Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid, said: “This is a global emergency that needs a truly global response, both from international organisations and donors. Many of the countries seeing this demand struggled before the pandemic to meet their daily oxygen needs. Now it’s more vital than ever that we come together to build on the work that has already been done, with a firm commitment to helping the worst-affected countries as quickly as possible.”</p><p>The taskforce has determined an immediate funding need of US$90 million to address key challenges in oxygen access and delivery in up to 20 countries, including Malawi, Nigeria and Afghanistan. This first set of countries has been identified based on assessments coordinated by WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, in order to match in-country need with potential financing, such as through the World Bank<a href="https://www.who.int/#_ftn3" name="_ftnref3" title="">[3]</a> and the Global Fund. Unitaid and Wellcome will make an immediate contribution of up to US$20 million in total for the emergency response. The urgent, short-term requirements of additional countries will be measured and costed in the coming weeks, with the overall funding need over the next 12 months estimated by ACT-A to be US$1.6 billion - a figure that will be regularly reviewed by the taskforce.</p><p>Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said: “Oxygen is life-saving and it is imperative to move faster to scale-up holistically with patient-centred, end-to-end solutions that improve clinical outcomes. WHO has been working through the Biomedical Consortium to bring the technical, clinical and procurement partners together with about US$80 million of biomedical equipment procured for low and middle-income countries. The Oxygen Taskforce will help drive oxygen scale-up through further innovation, financing and capacitation.”</p><p>Paul Schreier, Chief Operating Officer at Wellcome, said: “We have made critical advances in providing lifesaving clinical care and treatments to COVID-19 patients over the last year. The impact of the combination of oxygen and dexamethasone to treat severely ill patients has, in particular, been incredible. But global access to advances remains unequal. We need to urgently increase access to medical oxygen to ensure patients are benefiting regardless of where they live and ability to pay. International solidarity is the quickest - and only - way out of this pandemic. It is a public health, scientific, economic and moral imperative that all tools are made available globally.”</p><p>The taskforce brings together key organisations<a href="https://www.who.int/#_ftn4" name="_ftnref4" title="">[4]</a> that have been working to improve access to oxygen since the start of the pandemic including Unitaid, Wellcome, WHO, Unicef, the Global Fund, World Bank, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), PATH, the Every Breath Counts coalition and Save the Children. Building on these efforts, partners will focus on four key objectives as a part of an emergency response plan: measuring acute and longer-term oxygen needs in LMICs; connecting countries to financing partners for their assessed oxygen requirements; and supporting the procurement and supply of oxygen, along with related products and services. Other areas in the scope of the taskforce include addressing the need for innovative market-shaping interventions, as well as reinforcing advocacy efforts to highlight the importance of oxygen access in the COVID-19 response. </p><p>Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, said: “Oxygen is a simple medical intervention that remains in short supply for far too many around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken this acute shortage and made it a full-blown emergency. But addressing the oxygen gap will not only help with COVID-19 treatment in countries that are losing far too many saveable lives. It will also help to improve health systems and health outcomes beyond COVID-19 in the long term, including for the many newborns and children who require oxygen to survive.”</p><p> </p><h3>Editor’s notes and background</h3><p>Even before COVID-19, pneumonia was the world’s biggest infectious killer of adults and children, claiming the lives of 2.5 million people in 2019. The pandemic has exacerbated this problem, particularly in ‘double-burden’ countries which are contending with high levels of pneumonia and COVID-19. As well as meeting the immediate needs of the pandemic, the taskforce would look to leverage gains in this area to help with long-term pneumonia control.</p><p><strong>About Unitaid</strong></p><p>Unitaid is a global health agency engaged in finding innovative solutions to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases more quickly, cheaply and effectively, in low- and middle-income countries. Its work includes funding initiatives to address major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, as well as HIV co-infections and co-morbidities such as cervical cancer and hepatitis C, and cross-cutting areas, such as fever management. Unitaid is now applying its expertise to address challenges in advancing new therapies and diagnostics for the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a key member of the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator. Unitaid is hosted by the World Health Organization.</p><p><strong>About Wellcome </strong></p><p>Wellcome supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, global heating and infectious diseases. </p><p><strong>About WHO </strong></p><p><strong></strong>The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.</p><p><strong>About the ACT-Accelerator</strong></p><p>The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is a new global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March 2020 and launched by WHO, the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020. The ACT-Accelerator but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organizations to end the pandemic. It draws on the experience of leading global health organizations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, can unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it. The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector.</p><div><br></div><div></div><p><a href="https://www.who.int/#_ftnref1" name="_ftn1" title="">[1]</a> As part of the UN COVID-19 Supply Chain System, a technical biomedical procurement consortium was set up under the coordination of WHO, including ALIMA, BMGF, IMC, MSF, UNDP, UNHCR, Unicef, UNOPS, USAID and WFP. Approximately US$150m of oxygen related biomedical products and consumables have been delivered to 149 countries over the last year.</p><div></div><p><a href="https://www.who.int/#_ftnref2" name="_ftn2" title="">[2]</a>  <a href="https://www.path.org/programs/market-dynamics/covid-19-oxygen-needs-tracker/">https://www.path.org/programs/market-dynamics/covid-19-oxygen-needs-tracker/</a></p><div></div><p><a href="https://www.who.int/#_ftnref3" name="_ftn3" title="">[3]</a> Governments can apply for financing through the World Bank’s COVID-19 emergency health response</p><div></div><p><a href="https://www.who.int/#_ftnref4" name="_ftn4" title="">[4]</a> Partners joining the taskforce include Unitaid, Wellcome, WHO (and the broader biomedical consortium WHO coordinates), Unicef, The Global Fund, the World Bank, UNOPS, Save the Children, Every Breath Counts (coalition), CHAI and PATH.</p><p> </p>