C.hina won the fight against the infectious disease malaria. As the World Health Organization announced on Wednesday, the most populous country in the world has been officially classified as malaria-free. There has not been a single registered new infection in the country in the past four years.
“Today we congratulate the Chinese people for ridding the country of malaria,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, according to a statement. With hard-earned success, China has joined the growing number of countries showing the world that a malaria-free future is a feasible goal.
Systematically reducing mosquito breeding areas
According to the WHO, around 40 countries have so far won the fight against malaria and received a corresponding certificate. China is therefore the first country in 30 years to have achieved this breakthrough in the western Pacific region. In the 1940s, China reported around 30 million cases of malaria a year. Numerous government programs have since led to a decline in the number of infections.
According to the WHO, China began distributing medicine to prevent the disease in high-risk areas decades ago. The breeding areas of mosquitoes were systematically reduced and insect repellants and protective nets made widely available.
Malaria is transmitted by infected anopheles mosquitoes. A parasite causes an infectious disease that causes, among other things, a high fever, headache, and chills. Malaria can be life threatening if not treated quickly.
According to the WHO’s latest World Malaria Report, there were 229 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2019, up from 228 million cases in 2018. The estimated number of malaria deaths was 409,000 in 2019, compared with 411,000 deaths in 2018. Africa, where most recently 94 percent of all Malaria cases are by far the hardest hit by the disease.