World Health Organization certifies Sri Lanka as malaria

Sri Lankan labourer fumigates buildings to control mosquitoes in Colombo Sri Lanka. The World Health Organization has certified Sri Lanka as a malaria-free nation in what it called a

After the dramatic surge in the number of malaria cases in the 1970s and the 1980s, the country's anti-malaria campaign improved its strategy to target the disease-spreading mosquitoes intensively.

The Regional Director said WHO will continue to support the efforts of Sri Lanka's health authorities as they relate to malaria, as well as the country's wider public health mission. But by tackling both the mosquito and the malarial parasite, the country has not seen a single locally transmitted case of malaria in the last 3.5 years. Malaria continued to plague the country for the next several decades until the anti-malaria campaign shifted its tactics in the 1990s, and with the help of grants, was able to drop the number of recorded cases to fewer than 1,000 cases a year by 2006.

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena today received the Award for Excellence in Public Health - 2016.

The World Health Organisation has certified Sri Lanka free of malaria, the second country in the region to earn the distinction after the Maldives, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

World Health Organization declares Sri Lanka malaria-free. A rapidly degrading environment, especially in the urban areas, is the main host for vector borne diseases and this needs to be understood and included in the policy planning stage. Malaria is a public health problem in India.

During the country's 1986/87 epidemic there were more than 600,000 cases of malaria, while during its 1999 epidemic, the number of confirmed cases of malaria reached nearly 265,000.

The Government has taken a welcome step of initiating the National Framework for Malaria Elimination. Globally, about 3.2 billion people are at risk by malaria, which is half the world's population and as per 2015 statistics by WHO there were 214 million cases of malaria in 2015 and over four lakh deaths worldwide.

The five-day WHO event from September 5 to September 9 will also help to showcase Sri Lanka's achievements in the health sector and the progress the country has made in socio-economic development while highlighting its tourism potential, Sri Lankan officials said.

The WHO lauded Sri Lanka's strategy as "unorthodox, but highly effective" in a "tough" journey to elimination. Sri Lanka vowed to remove malaria in 1990's when the country has faced the worst face of the disease for nearly two decades.

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