World Health Organization has officially declared China malaria-free.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) officially awarded China a malaria-free certification on Wednesday as a mark of celebration for the country’s successful elimination of the disease after more than seven decades of battle against the disease.

In the 1940s, China had 30 million malaria cases. Over the last four decades, China has reduced that number by 90%, with no cases reported in the last four years, according to the World Health Organization.

“Today, we congratulate the people of China on their success in eliminating malaria from their country,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

“Their victories were hard-won and came only after decades of targeted and sustained action,” he continued.
China’s efforts to combat malaria began in the 1950s, when the disease was rampant in the country’s southern region, which was close to other hotspots on the continent of Southeast Asia at the time.

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According to the World Health Organization, the “523 Project,” a research program that began in 1967, enabled Chinese Nobel Prize winner Tu Youyou to discover artemisinin, which is now considered to be one of the most effective antimalarial drugs available.

Chinese authorities have increased their efforts to combat malaria over the last two decades, and the number of cases in the 1990s has dropped from 117,000 to 5,000 per year as a result of staff training, laboratory equipment, antimalarial drugs, and new methods to control mosquito propagation.

Another successful strategy was the “1-3-7” strategy, which required one day to report a case, three days to confirm a case, and seven days to prevent any further spread of the disease. This strategy was adopted and is still used today for travelers arriving from malaria-infected countries.

In the last four years, no cases of malaria have been reported in China, earning the country the WHO’s designation as malaria-free.
The ability to think outside the box has served China well in its own response to malaria over many decades, and it has also had a significant ripple effect on a global scale. Pedro Alonso, director of the World Health Organization’s Global Malaria Program, made the statement.

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