The World Health Organization declared China malaria-free on Wednesday, capping a 70-year quest to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease.
In the 1940s, the country reported 30 million instances of the infectious sickness every year, but it has already gone four years without an indigenous case.
“We congratulate the people of China on ridding the country of malaria,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Their success was hard-earned and came only after decades of targeted and sustained action. With this announcement, China joins the growing number of countries that are showing the world that a malaria-free future is a viable goal.”
Countries that have had zero indigenous cases for at least three years can request for WHO certification of their malaria-free status. They must give solid proof and show that they have the ability to prevent transmission from re-emerging.
The WHO’s certification was hailed as a “huge success for China’s human rights cause” by Beijing, which is in the midst of a propaganda drive ahead of celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the foundation of its ruling Communist Party this week.
At a regular briefing in Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “The CCP and the Chinese government have always prioritized defending people’s health, safety, and prosperity.”
“Eliminating malaria is a great contribution by China to human health and global human rights progress.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva has declared China as the 40th country to be malaria-free.
El Salvador (2021), Algeria and Argentina (2019), and Paraguay and Uzbekistan were the most recent countries to be granted the status (2018).
A separate list of 61 nations where malaria never existed or was eradicated without particular interventions is available.
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