WHO certifies Belize as being malaria-free

WHO certifies Belize as being malaria-free
An Anopheles gambiae mosquito, a vector for the malaria parasite, draws blood while biting a researcher at the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) insect research facility in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo: EPA / Stephen Morrison)

June 21 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) has certified Belize as being free from malaria, marking success for the Central American country after 70 years of continuous efforts to eradicate the disease.

The number of cases of malaria, which is caused by a bite from an infected Anopheles mosquito, have dropped from about 10,000 cases in 1994 to zero indigenous cases in 2019.

Belize is “another example of how, with the right tools and the right approach, we can dream of a malaria-free future,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said in a statement.

In its efforts to wipe out the disease, Belize has worked with the Belize Vector Ecology Center to analyse data on the density and distribution of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. It has encouraged the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and trained community workers to give more timely diagnosis and treatment.

It has also collaborated with neighbouring Mexico and Guatemala, which the WHO said had been “essential”.

The WHO has so far certified 42 countries and one territory as having managed to eradicate malaria.

“Belize becomes the fourth country in the Americas and the second in Central America to be certified as free of malaria over the last five years,” Dr Jarbas Barbosa, director of the Pan American Health Organization, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jyoti Narayan, Writing by Natalia Siniawski; Editing by Sharon Singleton)


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options