With the support from World Health Organization,Paraguay was officially certified the first country free from malaria out of the 21 contries in America that the WHO identified with the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020 through the “E- 2020 initiative”.
Malaria is a significant public health challenge that requires a huge effort through systematic development of programs to control and eliminate it in a country.
Paraguay offers free medical health services to all, one of the key elements that helps drives a country towards malaria elimination. Sustained political commitment and robust financial support are further keys to success.
Strong malaria surveillance system of suspected areas, targeted community engagement and education, a 3-year initiative to improve the skills of front- line health workers in the country’s health regions, are other recommended strategies that WHO encourages countries to adopt in their journey of national malaria elimination programs.
“This is a powerful reminder for the region of what can be achieved when countries are focused on an important goal, and remain vigilant after achieving that goal,” said Dr. Carissa, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Eliminating malaria in Paraguay will reduce the mortality rate of the citizens from the local transmission of the disease, leading to health benefits at the individual and community level as well as the socio- economic outcomes.
Taking into account, integration of the elimination strategy of malaria with other vector borne diseases had been a challenge but the lessons and experiences learned have contributed a tremendous transition of fighting malaria in Paraguay.