Malaria Free China
Part of: GS Prelims and GS II – health
In news: The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared China as “malaria-free”.
- It is a result of a seven decade-long, multi-pronged health strategy that was able to entirely eliminate indigenous cases for four straight years.
- 40 countries and territories have been granted a malaria-free certification from WHO – including, most recently, El Salvador (2021), Algeria (2019), Argentina (2019), Paraguay (2018) and Uzbekistan (2018) [India is not yet Malaria free]
- Malaria is a life threatening mosquito borne blood disease caused by plasmodium parasites.
- It is predominantly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, South America as well as Asia.
- The parasites spread through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
- Symptoms: Fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness.
- It is preventable as well as curable.
- According to the World Malaria Report, 2020, the number of malaria cases worldwide in 2019 was around 229 million, with 4,09,000 lives lost to the mosquito-borne disease.
China’s Malaria Strategy
- The efforts began in the early 1950s starting with a multi-pronged approach of providing anti-malarial medicines while targeting mosquito breeding grounds and using insecticide spraying.
- The 523 Project: It led to the discovery of artemisinin in the 1970s. Artemisinin is the core compound of antimalarial drugs available today.
- Insecticide-treated Nets: In the 1980s, China began using insecticide-treated nets widely, distributing 2.4 million nets by 1988.
- 1-3-7 Strategy: The strategy refers to:
- A one-day deadline to report a malaria diagnosis,
- Confirming a case and determining the spread by the third day, and
- Measures taken to stop the spread by the seventh day, along with continued surveillance in high-risk areas.
- Leveraging Global Fund: With assistance from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria starting in 2003, China “stepped up training, staffing, laboratory equipment, medicines and mosquito control.”