ALMA congratulates Cabo Verde on achieving malaria-free status

Published: 12 January 2024

The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) extends its heartfelt congratulations to the Republic of Cabo Verde on being certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization (WHO). This remarkable achievement places Cabo Verde on the list of the 43 countries and one territory that have successfully eliminated this life-threatening disease. Cabo Verde becomes the third country in the WHO African region to do so, following Mauritius and Algeria, which were certified in 1973 and 2019 respectively.

This historic milestone by Cabo Verde demonstrates the unwavering commitment and resilience of its government, healthcare professionals, and dedicated citizens. Their collective efforts have culminated in a healthier and more secure future, not just for the people of Cabo Verde, but also as an inspiring example for the entire African continent, where the burden of malaria remains the highest globally.

In 2022, Africa accounted for 94% of all malaria cases (233 million cases) and 95% of all malaria deaths (580,000 deaths). The most heavily impacted by the disease remain children, with about 78% of all malaria deaths in the region being among children under the age of five. In the same year, Comoros and Sao Tome and Principe reported zero malaria deaths for the first time while Botswana, Eritrea, and Eswatini all reported fewer than 10 malaria deaths.

Certification of malaria elimination is the official recognition by WHO of a country’s malaria-free status. The certification process requires evidence of a country’s capability to interrupt local malaria transmission for at least three consecutive years and prevent its re-establishment. Following a malaria outbreak in 2017, the country prioritised malaria elimination and got back on track, and has observed zero indigenous cases for three consecutive years, since 2018.

Certification of malaria elimination will drive positive development on many fronts for Cabo Verde. Systems and structures built for malaria elimination have strengthened the health system in the country. Travelers from non-malaria endemic regions can now travel to the islands of Cabo Verde without fear of local malaria infections, which is particularly significant given that tourism accounts for approximately 25% of the country’s GDP.

Cabo Verde’s success gives hope to us all! It shows that with the existing tools in our malaria tool box, and with a promising pipeline ahead of us, a malaria-free world is possible. ALMA remains committed to supporting and learning from such exemplary efforts in the fight against malaria. Cabo Verde’s success reinforces our belief in the attainability of a malaria-free Africa. We celebrate with the people of Cabo Verde and remain steadfast in the collective mission to rid the continent of malaria, improving the lives of all our citizens.