In May 2022 we reported that it was hoped that the World Health Organisation (WHO) would declare Cape Verde free of malaria. That hope has now become a reality. The WHO has now certified Cape Verde malaria free. This means that this small island nation joins the other 43 countries that are similarly certified. In Africa there are now three countries on this list – Algeria, Cape Verde and Mauritius. In 2021 95% of all cases of malaria were found on the African continent. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said ‘I salute the government and people of Cabo Verde for their unwavering commitment and resilience in their journey to eliminating malaria. WHO’s certification of Cabo Verde being malaria-free is testament to the power of strategic public health planning, collaboration, and sustained effort to protect and promote health. Cabo Verde’s success is the latest in the global fight against malaria, and gives us hope that with existing tools, as well as new ones including vaccines, we can dare to dream of a malaria-free world’.
All of the Cape Verde islands had cases of malaria prior to the 1950’s. Serious epidemics were common. The last peak of the disease was in the latter part of the 1980’s. Since then the disease has only been evident on the islands of Boa Vista and Santiago. However, both of those islands have been free of the disease since 2017. Following the outbreak in 2017 the country identified the issues. Changes were made and turned things turned around. For the following three years there were no indigenous cases of the illness. Collaboration between different ministries and the determination of other community-based organisations and NGO’s shows how important an holistic approach has been.
[24 Jan 2024]