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25 April 2016

SA on course for Malaria eradication by 2020

Malaria is still prevalent in Africa but according to the World Health Organisation, about six countries in the region – including South Africa – could be free of the disease by 2020.

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The burden of malaria is being felt the most in Africa, especially in countries such as Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. WHO is now urging cross-border collaborations to fight the disease.

South Africa recorded about 11 700 cases of the disease in 2014 and has potential to eliminate malaria by 2020. However, according to other experts, frequent traveling by natives from its neighbouring countries could pause problems and fan spread of the disease into SA.

"Through targeted action and cross-border collaboration, South Africa has the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020," a report released by WHO on Monday says.

Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe are cited as the major sources of some of the malaria cases reported in South Africa. Economic hardships in these countries are forcing citizens to cross borders, mostly into South Africa to seek better employment prospects and to buy goods for resale back home.

The South African Department of Health said yesterday that SA has “reversed the malaria incidents by 82% of the levels in the year 2000”.

Read: Slower-than-average malaria declines in Africa

The continent’s second largest economy and most industrialised country had also bagged the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) award for achieving the malaria goal of the MDGs at the ALMA meeting for Heads of State and Government of the African Union earlier this year.

Five other countries could also be able to eradicate malaria by 2020 and according to the WHO report, these are Algeria, Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros and Swaziland.

"WHO estimates that 21 countries are in a position to achieve this goal, including six countries in the African Region, where the burden of the disease is heaviest," WHO said.

All in all, about 214 million people are said to have suffered from malaria in 2015. About 438,000 of these culminated in deaths, prompting calls for greater action in the fight against the disease3. Official statistics show that as many as nine out of 10 deaths related to malaria are from Sub Saharan Africa.

"With commitment, dedication and support of all governments and partners, the vision for malaria elimination and eradication is possible," said WHO.

Read more:

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