Algeria, along with Argentina, was certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization (WHO). Algeria becomes the third African country after Mauritius (1973) and Morocco (2010) to be officially recognized as malaria free by WHO.
Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes and is one of the world’s leading killers. In 2017 there were 219 million cases and more than 400,000 deaths due to malaria throughout the world. Approximately 60% of fatalities are among children under 5 years old. The African continent bears 90% of the global burden of malaria cases and deaths.
Algeria’s success in beating this disease is attributed to a well-trained health workforce, the provision of malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment through universal health care, and a rapid response to disease outbreaks. All healthcare services, including anti malarials, are provided free of charge to anyone within its borders, including migrants. These factors enabled the country to reach – and maintain – zero malaria cases.
In 2013, the country reported its last indigenous case of malaria, and in 2018, Algeria was awarded the ALMA Award for Excellence.
World Health Organization certification confirms that Algeria’s health care system is strong enough to eliminate a significant public health burden, and that the population of Algeria is no longer at risk of illness or death from this serious disease. In view of its malaria-free status, Algeria is expected to benefit from a growth in tourism and development in the country’s southern provinces.
Statements from Leadership
Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of ALMA said, “Algeria funded its malaria elimination programme completely through domestic financing. The country is a brilliant example of what can be achieved when countries mobilize their own resources to end this terrible disease.”
Her Excellency Mrs Amira El Fadil, Commissioner of Social Affairs at the African Union Commission said, “Algeria has demonstrated that the bold continental targets to end malaria as a public health threat by 2030 are achievable. Success depends on increased domestic ownership and strengthened health systems which are all critical ingredients for human capital development and achievement of Africa’s socio-economic transformation agenda”.
“Algeria is where the malaria parasite was first discovered in humans almost a century and a half ago, and that was a significant milestone in responding to the disease,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Now Algeria has shown the rest of Africa that malaria can be beaten through country leadership, bold action, sound investment and science. The rest of the continent can learn from this experience.”