China was certified as malaria-free on Wednesday, June 30, by the World Health Organisation (WHO), following a 70-year effort to eradicate the mosquito-borne disease.
"Today we congratulate the people of China on ridding the country of malaria," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in an official statement. The statement added, "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 the first country in the WHO Western Pacific Region to be awarded a malaria-free certification in more than three decades.
Other countries in the region that have achieved this status include Australia (1981), Singapore (1982) and Brunei Darussalam (1987). Beginning in the 1950s, health authorities in China worked to locate and stop the spread of malaria by providing preventive anti-malarial medicines for people at risk of the disease as well as treatment for those who had fallen ill, the WHO statement said.
Countries that have achieved at least three consecutive years of zero indigenous cases can apply for WHO certification of their malaria-free status. They must present rigorous evidence, and demonstrate the capacity to prevent transmission re-emerging.