WHO says six African nations could be malaria free by 2020

The World Health Organisation aims to wipe out the disease in at least 10 countries by the end of this decade.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

South Africa could be one of six African countries that could be free of malaria by 2020, according to a WHO report.

A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) says Algeria, Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, South Africa and Swaziland where malaria is rife, could be free from the disease by 2020.

One of the goals of WHO's 2016-2030 programme against malaria is to wipe out the disease in at least 10 countries by the end of this decade.

"WHO estimates that 18 countries are in a position to achieve this goal, including six countries in the African region, where the burden of the disease is heaviest." the Geneva-based organisation said via a statement.

South Africa had recorded 11,700 cases of the disease in 2014, while the number was 64,000 in 2000.

"Through targeted action and cross-border collaboration, South Africa has the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020," the report said.

Other countries, which the organisation believes could achieve this objective are:

  • China
  • Malaysia
  • South Korea
  • Costa Rica
  • Belize
  • El Salvador
  • Mexico
  • Argentina
  • Paraguay
  • Ecuador
  • Suriname
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iran
  • Oman
  • Sri Lanka
  • Bhutan
  • Timor-Leste
  • Nepal

According to another WHO report published earlier this month, Central Asia, Europe and the Caucasus had eliminated malaria last year.

The new report says out of 214 million global cases, 438,000 people died in 2015, while majority of these deaths came from sub-Saharan Africa.