Cape Verde has become the first country in West Africa to be declared malaria-free. The World Health Organization granted this status because no new cases of malaria have been recorded in the past three years. The organization describes it as a “beacon of hope” for the rest of Africa.
Cape Verde is the third African country to declare itself completely malaria-free. The World Health Organization granted the status to Mauritius in 1973 and to Algeria in 2019.
Malaria has been a major problem for African countries for decades. Every year, millions of people become ill and hundreds of thousands die from the mosquito-borne disease. About 95 percent of all malaria cases worldwide occur on the African continent. About 96 percent of deaths occur in African countries.
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The World Health Organization praises Cape Verde for its fight against the disease and hopes for the country's future. Existing health systems and structures would facilitate the control of other mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever.
In addition, residents of malaria-free countries can now travel to the archipelago off the coast of West Africa with peace of mind. The World Health Organization expects this to increase the number of tourists, which will be beneficial for the country's prosperity.
“Cape Verde's achievement is a beacon of hope for the African region and beyond. It shows that with strong political will, effective policies and community commitment, malaria elimination is an achievable goal,” the World Health Organization said.
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